Tag:Astros
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Source: Astros to interview Logan White

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Houston Astros are working through the Winter Meetings without a new general manager, but they're continuing the interview process. A source has told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that Logan White, the current assistant general manager of scouting for the Dodgers, will interview for the position.

White has overseen drafts when the Dodgers selected star players Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, in addition to other quality selections like Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and Kenley Jansen.

White joins Royals assistant GM of scouting and player development J.J. Picollo, Cardinals vice president of player procurement Jeff Luhnow and Rockies assistant GM Bill Geivett as a serious candidates for the job. 

Dream candidate Andrew Friedman will not take the job, and instead stay with the Rays. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine has also pulled out of the running.

Astros transitions
Upon the dismissal of former GM Ed Wade, Astros CEO George Postolos said the following:

"We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal."

The Astros have not set a timetable on hiring a new GM. Dave Gottfried, who was Wade's assistant, is currently serving as the interim GM, but is not a candidate to land the full-time gig.

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Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Saturday rumors: Kuroda, A's and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Saturday's the last day at home for a couple of days for most in baseball, as the winter meetings kick off Monday in Dallas -- and that goes for reporters, as well. That meant a rather light day in rumors, but expect things to pick up on Sunday and then go fast and furious on Monday. Last year news of Jayson Werth's deal with the Nationals came on the day before the start of the meetings, so that goes to show things don't just go down in the hotel lobby.

Hiroki KurodaThe news of Chris Capuano's signing with the Dodgers seemed to signal the end of Hiroki Kuroda's time in Los Angeles, and maybe even his time in the United States. However, the Rockies are pursuing Kuroda (Denver Post). Kuroda's also been mentioned as a possibility for the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Rangers and others. Kuroda blocked deals to the Tigers and Red Sox last season. WEEI.com reports Kuroda is open to pitching in Boston. His former team in Japan, the Hiroshima Carp, have also offered him a contract.

The A's could be popular in Dallas, as the team has pitching for sale. "I wouldn't rule anybody out," assistant GM David Forst told the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's are looking for an outfielder in return. Closer Andrew Bailey is among the most popular trade targets on the team, already drawing attention from the Rangers, Blue Jays, Reds, Padres, Mets and Mariners. (Chicago Tribune)

Someone put in a bid for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions are expected to accept the bid, regardless of the amount. (Kyodo News)

Matt Garza's agent told the Cubs' right-hander to prepare for "an active winter meetings." Garza told him he'd be in Italy. Garza was dealt from the Rays to the Cubs last offseason and is under team control through 2013. The Cubs have let it be known that they're open to trading just about anyone. (MLB.com)

The Rockies are interested in Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka. The left-handed hitter played in just 49 games this past season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters because of an ankle injury, but is said to be healthy now. (FoxSports.com)

The Red Sox will meet with Bob Garber, the agent for C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, during the winter meetings. (Boston Herald)

Not many have thought that Rays general manager Andrew Friedman would consider taking the Astros' GM job, but free agent outfielder Johnny Damon seems to think it's a possibility. "He's not going to sign me and then leave," Damon told the Boston Globe of Friedman. "If he goes to Houston, his hometown, he's going to try and bring me along with him. That's where my waiting game is." Damon also said he told David Ortiz to play in New York and take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

Casey Blake is drawing interest from nine teams, including the Indians. He can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The White Sox are looking to trade for a starter and an outfielder and are dangling John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin and Matt Thornton. Among the teams that could be a match are the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Reds and Braves. (Chicago Tribune)

Tim WakefieldKnuckleballer Tim Wakefield said he has a "strong desire" to pitch for the Red Sox next season. The 45-year-old needs seven wins to surpass Roger Clemens and Cy Young as the franchise's all-time leader. (Boston Herald)

The Reds held their annual RedsFest in Cincinnati this weekend, so there's plenty of news from the banks of the Ohio thanks to the media availability of GM Walt Jocketty, manager Dusty Baker and most of the team's roster and top prospects. Jocketty said the team is looking for a "top of the rotation" starter and have targeted six different players, but didn't name any of them. Jocketty also said the team had looked at Detroit infielder Ramon Santiago as a backup shortstop, and would ideally like to sign a left-handed hitter or switch hitter to back up Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Enquirer). Baker said the team is looking both internally and externally for a closer, but will not have a closer by committee to replace Francisco Cordero (MLB.com). 

Follow all the moves with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Friday's rumors: Ortiz, Astros GM and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We're getting closer to the winter meetings in Dallas, so talks and rumors will just intensify over the weekend. Expect some deals to get done by this time next week, and by that I mean something bigger than Chris Capuano signing with the Dodgers.

New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will be in the Dominican Republic this weekend to meet with David Ortiz, who said he hasn't decided whether he'd accept arbitration from the Red Sox. Ortiz said there have been several teams reach out to him, but wouldn't name those teams. (Boston Herald)

While a lot of the attention around the Astros general manager job has been about who isn't interviewing, but Colorado's Bill Geivett and St. Louis' Jeff Luhnow have interviewed with the Astros. (MLB.com)

Dave Magadan will return as the Red Sox hitting coach under Valentine.

Meanwhile, Chris Bosio will be the Cubs' pitching coach under manager Dale Sveum. (Appleton Post-Crescent)

The Marlins have a team policy that they won't include no-trade clauses in their contracts and it was reported that the policy could hurt the team in its pursuit of some of the biggest free agents. However, president Larry Beinfest said the policy has never hurt them before. (Palm Beach Post)

Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki said in a press conference that he was becoming a free agent and was interested in playing in the United States, but only for the Mariners. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said he was aware of Kawasaki's statement and would consider signing the former Softbank Hawk. Kawasaki said he'd be willing to accept a minor-league deal. (Seattle Times)

Veteran utility man Mark DeRosa is gaining interest from the Nationals, Rangers, Indians and Pirates. (FoxSports.com)

The agent for Mariano Rivera said the Yankee closer's surgery to remove polyps from his vocal cords "went well, as planned." (New York Daily News)

The Royals announced TV analyst Frank White wouldn't return in 2011. While that's not a big deal on the national scale, White is one of the franchise's best players. A Kansas City native, White is one of just two players to have their number retired by the team. White had served as an analyst the last three years and had resigned as a full-time employee of the Royals in January to concentrate on his TV duties. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweeted that White was fired because the team thought he was too critical, which is a shame. White is one of the all-time great Royals and deserved better.

The Reds will play a game against their minor league all-stars on the Tuesday before opening day. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:36 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Levine, Hunsicker candidates to watch for Astros

By Matt Snyder

With Ed Wade reportedly set to be given his walking papers Monday by new Astros owner Jim Crane, the ballclub will be searching for a new general manager very soon. With Houston favorite Andrew Friedman likely out of the running, Thad Levine is an early candidate to watch, sources have told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.

Levine, 40, is the assistant general manager for the Texas Rangers, a position he's held since 2005 -- when Jon Daniels was hired as the youngest GM in baseball history. The Rangers' brain trust has put together back-to-back American League championship clubs, and this was an organization that had previously never won a playoff series, so Levine is obviously well-groomed to take over a ballclub of his own.

Also, per Knobler, don't rule out Gerry Hunsicker. He currently works with Friedman as an executive for Tampa Bay, but still has a home in Houston. Hunsicker was the Astros' GM from 1995-2004, presiding over/setting up a period of time that easily qualifies as the best in franchise history -- when the Astros went to the playoffs six times in a nine season span and also made their only World Series appearance.

There's no way of knowing how quickly Houston would want to hire a new GM, considering the firing of Wade hasn't actually happened yet, but the Winter Meetings start in a week, so it would behoove them to make a very quick hire, if possible.

Finally, on the managerial situation, Brad Mills will not be fired, reports Richard Justice.

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Can Astros land Andrew Friedman? Doubtful

By Matt Snyder

With the seemingly inevitable dismissal of general manager Ed Wade set to reportedly take place Monday, the Astros are soon to be looking for a replacement. One name sure to be bouncing around the rumor mill this week? Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

This isn't like the Cubs' courtship of Theo Epstein, nor is it like when the Cubs were rumored to be interested in Friedman. No, this is different.

Friedman actually has roots in Houston, and even the Astros, to a certain extent. He was born in 1976, in Houston. He graduated from Episcopal High School, in Houston. He played baseball at Tulane University in New Orleans, just as his father did, which is about 350 miles from Houston. He supposedly grew up an Astros fan.

So it makes sense, right?

Well, yes it does. Only it's very unlikely to happen. Friedman loves his job in Tampa Bay and is very unlikely to leave it, even for his hometown, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.

People surely won't stop thinking about the match until a new Astros GM is hired, but keep in mind it is a complete longshot.

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:54 am
 

Astros fire GM Wade, president Smith

By Matt Snyder

In news that is hardly surprising, the Houston Astros are making major changes to the front office, including the dismissal of general manager Ed Wade. Club president Tal Smith -- who has been with the club for 35 seasons -- has also been dismissed. Sources have told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that Smith was told via phone he was fired.

Crane is going to meet with the front office Monday morning. Per Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Crane and club president George Postolos have meetings set with both the baseball and business sides of operations. Assistant general manager Dave Gottfried is now the interim general manager, but is not a candidate to be the new GM.

"With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations," Postolos said in a statement. "We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.

"The search for a new General Manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal."

The smart money is on a quick hire, considering the Winter Meetings begin in just one week. Not that a hire will take place before then, it's just an illustration of how much the Astros are now behind other teams in looking for front office personnel for the 2012 season.

Houston General Manager
All the ingredients for a change were in place. First of all, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in franchise history, going 56-106 and finishing with the worst record in baseball. There also isn't a ton of help on the way from a relatively barren farm system. Next, new owner Jim Crane is taking over for Drayton McLane. With a change in ownership and a team that basically needs to start over -- especially since they're headed to the American League West -- it is the perfect time to bring in a new regime.

Wade, 55, was named the Astros' GM in September of 2007 and under his watch the Astros have gotten progressively worse. Not only did they trade away long-time fan favorites Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, but they went from 86 to 56 wins in just four years. Wade was previously the GM of the Phillies, but was fired after the 2005 season.

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Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player



By Matt Snyder


With the announcement of the National League MVP coming Tuesday, we'll once again do the opposite and choose a least valuable player. Unlike the AL version of this "award," the candidates were not nearly as identifiable. I did narrow it down to five worthy contenders, so let's size 'em up.

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates. The 24-year-old third baseman was supposed to be a power bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup for years to come. And he still might prove to be one in the future, but he was awful in 2011. Alvarez hit .191/.272/.289 with just four homers in 262 plate appearances. He even earned a demotion to Triple-A. He struck out 80 times and grounded into 11 double plays in just 235 at-bats.

Tyler Colvin, Cubs. The 2006 first-round pick hit 20 home runs in 358 at-bats in 2010, but he was lost in 2011. Colvin hit .150/.204/.306 with six homers in 222 plate appearances. You can go after Mike Quade for not letting Colvin get regular playing time if you want, but how can you justify continuing to run a guy out there with a .204 on-base percentage?

Aubrey Huff, Giants. Believe it or not, Huff finished seventh in MVP voting in 2010. Man, that seems like ages ago. In 2011, the Giants had the worst offense in the National League, and Huff has to shoulder some of that blame. Huff's raw stats don't look near as bad as those of Alvarez, Colvin or a litany of others, but his .246/.306/.370 line damaged a legitimate playoff threat. If he had a similar season to 2010, the entire complexion of the lineup changes.

Derek Lowe, Braves. He made 34 starts and worked 187 innings, so that sounds like he had some value, at least in giving the Braves a healthy innings-eater. It's just that Lowe faltered when the Braves needed him the most. His overall season numbers -- 9-17, 5.05 ERA, 1.51 WHIP -- were bad enough, but Lowe was horrifying in September. He made five starts, going 0-5 with an 8.75 ERA and 1.99 WHIP. This was during a historic collapse. And Lowe made $15 million in 2011.

Brandon Lyon, Astros. The closer set the tone for the Astros' abysmal 2011 season by blowing an opening-day save opportunity, allowing six hits and three runs to the Phillies. He would rack up as many blown saves as actual saves (four), which fit nicely with his 11.48 ERA and 2.40 WHIP. Still, Lyon only appeared in 15 games, due to injury, so he can't really win this one.

And the winner is ... Huff by a nose. Ultimately, I believe Huff's shortfall from his 2010 numbers was more responsible for costing the Giants the playoffs than Lowe's campaign. Since Lowe is a starting pitcher and only goes once every five days, I feel like the Braves still could have overcome his shortcomings. But the Giants' offense was pitiful all season, and if Huff hit the ball better, it would have been an immense boost. I'd definitely be on board with anyone wanting to pick Lowe, though. This was a two-horse race.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:18 am
 

Clint Barmes signs with Pirates

By Matt Snyder

The Pirates have signed free agent shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year, $10.5 million contract, multiple outlets are reporting.

“In talking with my agent and talking with the club, they were wanting to make a decision and they wanted to know by pretty much yesterday who their shortstop was going to be so they could continue to move on,” Barmes said (MLB.com). “It was one of those things they had a few others guys lined up behind me, and the way it was explained to me I was the first in line as far as who they wanted. They threw a great offer.”

The Pirates had previously declined to pick up the option for incumbent shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

Barmes, 32, is a very good defensive shortstop who hit .244/.312/.386 with 27 doubles and 12 homers in 123 games last season for the Astros.

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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