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Tag:Athletics
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm
 

Spring position battles: American League West



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There's nothing like the Super Bowl to remind you that spring training is just around the corner. And with pitchers and catchers packing up their bags for Florida and Arizona, we here at Eye on Baseball will look at some of the key positional battles on tap for this spring, starting with the American League West.

Los Angeles Angels
Designated hitter: Mark Trumbo vs. Kendrys Morales vs. Bobby Abreu vs. Vernon Wells

At the end of the 2011 season, it seemed first base could be a battle for the Angels heading into 2012. That position was settled pretty easily with $240 million. The two previous candidates, Trumbo and Morales are now with BAbreu looking for playing time at DH. Add the wild card of Mike Trout possibly pushing either Torii Hunter or Wells into the DH competition and the team has a lot of players for one spot. Sure, the Angels are saying Trumbo can play third, but he's still not all the way back from an ankle injury and he hasn't proven he can handle the day-in, day-out rigors of third base (look at what it did to Kevin Youkilis last season). There's also the chance that Morales won't be healthy. There are so many variables to the Angles lineup that the only thing that seems certain at this point is that Albert Pujols will be at first base, batting third.

Oakland Athletics
Closer: Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes vs.  Fautino De Los Santos vs. Joey Devine

One of the many players Billy Beane got rid of this offseason was closer Andrew Bailey, who went to the Red Sox for three players, leaving an opening at closer for 2012. Fuentes recorded 12 saves in Bailey's spot last season, while Balfour picked up two as well. Those two veterans should be seen as the favorites, but De Los Santos and Devine could surprise. De Los Santos struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings last season, while Devine impressed in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Even if the two youngsters don't get the call after spring training, either are just one trade away from getting their shot -- and with the A's current situation, nobody in Oakland should be buying, just renting.

Seattle Mariners
No. 3-5 starters: Blake Beavan vs. Charlie Furbush vs. Hector Noesi vs. Kevin Millwood vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Felix Hernandez, of course, is the Mariners' No. 1 starter and Jason Vargas figures to be the other Mariner to start in the team's two-game series in Japan. After that, it gets interesting. Seattle signed Iwakuma to a $1.5 million contract in the offseason, so he figures to be in the rotation somewhere. Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineada trade and should be somehwere in the mix, as well. That leaves the youngsters Furbush (25) and Beavan (23), to go against the veteran Millwood (37). Furbush and Beavan showed flashes during 2011, but are hardly proven products. After stints in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in Colorado and should benefit from pitching at Safeco Field.

Texas Rangers
5th starter: Matt Harrison vs. Alexi Ogando vs. Scott Feldman

Unless the Rangers do sign Roy Oswalt, it appears the first four spots in the Texas rotation are set with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, leaving three pitchers battling for the final spot. Last season the Rangers moved Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation with some success. They're looking to do the same with Feliz this season and possibly sending Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando was 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA, but seemed to tire down the stretch. Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last season, but still has to battle for his job. And then there's Feldman, who is a long-shot here, but is used to the yo-yoing from the bullpen to the rotation. If the team does sign Oswalt, the three could be stretched out in spring, but return to the bullpen once the season starts.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 3:21 pm
 

Several NFLers took swings at baseball

Tom Brady

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In 1995 the Expos drafted a catcher out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., the same high school that produced Barry Bonds and Gregg Jeffries. Montreal scout Gary Hughes thought the team got a steal, but knew the catcher lasted until the 18th round because he was a good football player and would be difficult to sign.

In the end, Tom Brady passed on baseball, went to the University of Michigan on a football scholarship and will be playing in a football game this weekend. He made the right choice, but that doesn't mean the Expos scouts were wrong -- Brady was obviously a good athlete with a strong arm and good leadership skills, all things you want in a catcher.

CBSSports.com's Super Bowl Central

Brady's not the only NFL player who flirted with a career in baseball, several current NFL players have a baseball background. While there's no Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan currently playing at the highest level in both sports, there are a variety of NFL-MLB ties, from players who, like Brady, were drafted and didn't sign, to those who played in the minors and even one minor-leaguer who is hoping to be drafted into the NFL this year.

Here's a look at some current NFL players with baseball experience:

Cedric Benson -- The Bengals running back was drafted by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2001 draft and played nine games for the team's Gulf Coast League team, going 5 for 25, with all five of his hits going for extra bases -- three doubles and two triples. While he didn't homer, he walked 10 times in 34 plate appearances and was hit twice for a .412 on-base percentage and an .892 OPS.

Mark Brunell -- The 41-year-old Jets backup was… the lefty was drafted by the Braves in the 44th round of the 1992 draft, but didn't sign.

Kerry Collins -- The Tigers took him in the 26th round of the 1990 draft, the first of three future NFL players drafted, before Greg McMurtry and Rodney Peete. He was drafted again by the Tigers in the 60th round of the 1991 draft and the 48th round of the 1994 draft. He never signed.

Quan CosbyQuan Cosby (right) -- The former Broncos and Bengals kick returner was a sixth-round pick by the Angels in 2001 and played four years in the team's minor-league system, spending two seasons with Cedar Rapids in the Class A Midwest League. In four seasons, he hit .260/.330/.321 with 71 stolen bases. In his last season, 2004, he stole 23 bases and hit five homers. After that season he went back to school at Texas and played wide receiver with the Longhorns. Undrafted in football, he signed with the Bengals and played last season with the Broncos before being waived at the end of the season and signed by the Colts.

Eric Decker -- The Broncos wide receiver was drafted in the 39th round by the Brewers in 2008 and in the 27th round by the Twins in 2009.

Dennis Dixon -- Twice drafted, the Steelers' third-string quarterback signed with the Braves after going in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. He played in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League that year, hitting a combined .176/.322/.216 as an outfielder. He was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases, but struck out 22 times in 90 plate appearances, while putting up just a .176 average.

Matt Moore -- No, not the Rays' lefty Matt Moore, but the Dolphins quarterback. Moore was taken in the 22nd round of the 2004 draft by the Angels.

Golden Tate --  The Seahawks' wide receiver was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 42nd round of the 2007 draft and the Giants in the 50th round of the 2010 draft. He played two seasons of baseball at Notre Dame, hitting .329 as a sophomore and scoring 45 runs, the third-most in school history.

Michael Vick -- The Rockies drafted Vick in the 30th round of the 2000 draft, but he never signed.

Hines Ward -- The Marlins took Ward in the 73rd round of the 1994 draft, but he never signed.

Brandon Weeden -- CBSSports.com has the Oklahoma State quarterback the fourth-rated QB in the upcoming draft after leading Oklahoma State to an 11-1 record last season as a 28-year-old. The reason Weeden was so advanced in age as a college quarterback was that he spent five seasons in the minor leagues after the Yankees took him in the second round of the 2002 draft. Weeden, a right-handed pitcher, was 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA in 108 games and 65 starts in the minors. He averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, but had a 1.573 WHIP for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals systems.

Ricky Williams -- The same year the current Ravens running back won the Heisman Trophy at Texas, he hit .283/.309/.283 in 55 plate appearances in the short-season New York-Penn League for the Batavia Muckdogs in the Phillies system. Despite a career .211/.265/.261 line in four years in the Phillies' system, the Expos took him in the 1998 Rule 5 draft before trading him to the Rangers. Williams didn't join the Rangers and never played another professional baseball game.

Russell Wilson -- Wilson is the 10th-ranked quarterback in the upcoming draft, according to CBSSports.com. Wilson, a second baseman, was drafted in 2007 by the Orioles and again in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Rockies. After spurning the Orioles out of high school, Wilson did sign with the Rockies, which led to a rift between him and his college coach at N.C. State, Tom O'Brien. WIlson played baseball each of the last two summers, playing 61 games for the Asheville Tourists of the Class A South Atlantic League last season, hitting .228/.366/.342 with three home runs and 15 stolen bases. He struck out 82 times in 236 plate appearances before heading to Wisconsin for his senior year of college. At Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to the Big 10 title. He recently told the Rockies he won't be reporting to spring training. The Rockies hold his rights for five more years and have said they'd welcome him back.

Of course, there are plenty of guys who went the other way and chose baseball instead of football, players like Todd Helton (who once started ahead of Peyton Manning at Tennessee), Adam Dunn (who was at Texas as a quarterback), Seth Smith (who backed up Eli Manning at Ole Miss), Joe Mauer (who was the nation's top recruit at quarterback and signed with Florida State) and Matt Holliday (who was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma State).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:52 pm
 

A's owner would be fine with adding Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Last week there were reports the A's were interested in Manny Ramirez -- and it doesn't sound like Oakland owner Lew Wolff has a problem with adding the controversial slugger.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea
, Wolff said he'd be fine if general manager Billy Beane decided to add Ramirez.

"Why wouldn't we (be interested) if a guys serves his term," Wolff said, referencing Ramirez's 50-game suspension. "What's more, is he in shape? Does he want to come to us? Do we want him? I really don't see any non-baseball reason for not having him. I wouldn't want to not have a player because he made a mistake and paid the price for it, but that's really up to Billy."

Wolff said the team's payroll would be around $50 million, or one-third of the Angels' expected payroll, $80 million less than the Rangers and $30 million less than the Mariners.

According to the owner, the team made $370,000 last year after the $32 million it received in revenue sharing.

"I have to admit, without revenue sharing, we'd have a huge loss, and we don't want revenue sharing," Wolff said. "We'd like not to be a receiver if we could."

As for Ramirez with the A's, the team could certainly use his power. Ramirez, 39, has 555 career homers, while the position players on the A's 40-man roster have a combined 413 career home runs, led by Jonny Gomes' 118 and Coco Crisp's 75. He'd also be cheap, which is just what the A's are looking for in a player.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 11:05 am
 

'Moneyball' receives six Oscar nominations

By Matt Snyder

"Moneyball" has made the playoffs, if you will, now let's see if it can do what the real-life Oakland A's of the 2000s could not: Win it all.

More Moneyball
The movie based upon the book that was based upon Oakland general manager Billy Beane struggling to keep up with the large-market clubs in the early 2000s has received six Oscar nominations (IMDB.com) -- and they aren't all trivial ones, either.

The film has been nominated for best picture. It'll have to compete with the following: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

The two main characters also got some love. Brad Pitt -- who played Beane -- has been nominated for best actor and Jonah Hill -- who played "Peter Brand" aka Paul DePodesta -- has been nominated for best supporting actor.

Other nominations: Best screenplay, best achievement in editing and best achievement in sound mixing.

Oh, and to those who wish to complain about how the movie ignored Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez, let's note that the film was not nominated in any of the categories recognizing documentaries. It was supposed to be entertaining while based loosely on a true story.

Here is the theatrical trailer:



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Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Report: A's interested in Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Billy Beane's Home for Wayward Designated Hitters may have found its next resident. The A's are "very interested" in bringing in Manny Ramirez, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports.

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Ramirez, 39, will have to serve a 50-game suspension at the beginning of the season, but then would be free to DH for whatever team will have him. According ot the report, the Orioles and Blue Jays watched Ramirez at a batting cage and liked what they saw.

Last season Hideki Matsui was the celebrity guest star in the A's lineup, but the team has decided not to bring him back.

Ramirez had one hit in 17 plate appearances in five games for the Rays before he was suspended for 100 games for his second positive drug test and subsequently retired. Ramirez applied for reinstatement in December. His suspension was reduced to 50 games after missing the entire 2011 season.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:27 pm
 

A's agree to deal with OF Jonny Gomes

Jonny GomesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jonny Gomes is headed home. The Petaluma, Calif, native has agreed to a deal with the Oakland A's, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports.

Gomes, 31, will serve as a designated hitter and extra outfielder for the A's, especially against left-handed pitching. In his career, Gomes has crushed lefties to a tune of .281/.375/.501, while hitting .224/.306/.427 against right-handed pitchers and .242/.299/.366 overall.

Last season Gomes hit .209/.325/.389 with 14 homers for the Reds and Nationals in 120 games and 372 plate appearances.

Gomes hit 21 homers as a rookie in 2005 with Tampa Bay and 20 the next season, but as the team improved his playing time dwindled. He was inactive for the 2008 postseason run and signed with the Reds aftr the season. He hit 20 homers in his first season at Great American Ball Park. He was traded to Washington in July.

Gomes is also considered one of the best clubhouse guys in the game. Even though he wasn't on the Rays' active roster in 2008, he was the team's biggest cheerleader from the bench. He was also seen as a positive influence on some of the younger players as the Reds won their division in 2010. He could take over the "good guy" role in Oakland that Hideki Matsui held last season.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:46 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:25 pm
 

A's trade Moscoso, Outman for Seth Smith



By Matt Snyder


Billy Beane's Oakland A's continued their extreme offseason makeover Monday with yet another trade. This time Beane shipped pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith -- who has been involved in trade rumors throughout the offseason.

Smith, 29, has served mostly as a fourth outfielder type for the Rockies since 2008, but he got a career high 533 plate appearances last season. He hit .284/.347/.483 with 15 homers, 32 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He hasn't played center field since 2008, so he's best used as a corner outfielder. He'll likely be the starter in left field with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. Of course, prospect Michael Taylor is going to figure in the mix at some point.

More A's, Rockies moves
One item of note: Smith's career splits indicate he was hugely helped by Coors Field. He's hit .296/.366/.559 at home and .257/.332/.418 on the road. And Oakland plays in one of the worst hitters' parks in the majors.

Moscoso, 28, was 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 128 innings last season. Outman, 27, was 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. And, again, we'll note that these two pitchers are going from having a very pitcher-friendly home park to one of the most hitter-friendly yards in the bigs.

It will be interesting to see how the rotation battle shakes out for the Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel are surely in and it's a good bet Alex White and Drew Pomeranz get every chance to win jobs as well. Then they have Moscoso, Outman, Kevin Slowey, Esmil Rogers, Juan Nicasio, Clayton Mortensen and Tyler Chatwood seemingly competing for one spot. 

On the other side, the A's are still pretty stocked with young arms, but not near as many as before all these moves. The rotation appears to be: Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and either Jarrod Parker or Tyson Ross. Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden are still each recovering from arm surgery. McCarthy is a free agent after the 2012 season, too, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him traded at some point before July 31 as well.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:02 pm
 

Showtime series considering Marlins for season 2

Jose Reyes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Franchise, Showtime and MLB's answer to HBO's popular Hard Knocks, is returning for a second season and a second team. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports the Marlins are under consideration to be this year's subject, following in the footsteps of the San Francisco Giants.

The Marlins would seem to be as good of a pick as any big league team as there's a new stadium, colorful new uniforms, an even more colorful new manager and new talent in the likes of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. The team even has the walking soap opera that is Carlos Zambrano, as well as the spotlight-seeking Logan Morrison.

If Showtime decides to go in another direction, here are some other ideas:

• The A's: It seems Lew Wolff and Billy Beane are trying to pull a real-life version of Major League, putting together a team not to win, but in preparation for a move. Heck, they already have Brad Pitt as the general manager, so we know the camera will love them.

• The Angels: It's a time-honored television tradition, the fish-out-of-story of a family packing up its modest home and heading to California. We've had the Clampetts move out to Bev-er-ly, the Walshes to 90210 and the Fresh Prince hailing a cab for Bel-Air, so why not the Pujols family dealing with the disrespect of being offered a lowly $130 million and finding love and respect in Anaheim? Oh, and there's C.J. Wilson and his race cars and Vernon Wells cashing his paychecks.

• The Yankees and Red Sox: It'd be nice to see these teams get a little attention.

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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