Tag:Felix Hernandez
Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:49 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/30: Opening day matchups

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw vs. Tim Lincecum -- Opening day at Dodger Stadium, against the Giants and with the Giants coming off a World Series title, this game has enough going for it to start with, add in two of the best young pitchers in the game and it's an embarrassment of riches. (Thursday, 8 p.m. EST at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles)

CC Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander -- There'll be no shortage of heat at Yankee Stadium tomorrow. Sabathia is starting his third straight opening day for the Yankees, while Verlander's strong spring give hope to avoiding another rough April. Not only do you have two of the best pitchers in the game going head-to-head, they're both facing formidable lineups. (Thursday, 1:05 p.m. EST at Yankee Stadium, New York)

Felix Hernandez vs. Trevor Cahill -- Hernandez won his first Cy Young Award last season, while Cahill is at the top of what is probably the American League's best rotation. We all know Hernandez's resume, but Cahill had an impressive 2010 as well, going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA. (Friday, 10:05 p.m. EST at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.)

3DOWN

Ryan Dempster vs. Kevin Correia -- Correia goes from being another guy in a very good rotation in San Diego a year ago to the top of the Pirates' rotation. Dempster has started two opening days before, both in Florida, but is hardly a marquee name for one of the game's marquee franchises. (Friday, 2:20 p.m. EST at Wrigley Field in Chicago)

Derek Lowe vs. Livan Hernandez -- Lowe's starting his third straight opening day for the Braves and Hernandez is making his fourth overall opening day start for the Nationals/Expos, but first since 2006. Both have had good careers, but there's little sizzle to this matchup.  (Thursday, 1:05 p.m. EST at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.)

Tim Stauffer vs. Chris Carpenter -- With all due respect to the 2005 Cy Young Award winner, this game is as much about who isn't pitching as who will toe the rubber. The expectation was that it would be Mat Latos against Adam Wainwright, this just doesn't have the same juice. (Thursday, 4:15 p.m. EST at Busch Stadium, St. Louis)

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Possible 2011 trade candidates, obvious and not

By Matt Snyder

One of the big reasons preseason predictions are often blown to bits is the number of games played by certain players for certain teams. Major injuries, for example, but also because players end up being traded. Underachieving and overachieving teams end up becoming sellers and buyers, respectively, by the deadline.

There are going to be names already being thrown around in rumors and on fan message boards from the get-go. We'll give you five obvious names sure to appear in trade talks. Then, because it's so much more fun to throw stuff at the wall, we'll dig deeper and find 10 not-so-obvious names that could end up being traded or at least discussed. In those cases, certain things have to happen in order to clear the way for a deal, but those things can't be absolutely outlandish.

Remember, many players have no-trade clauses or are 10-and-5 guys, so every possible deal is contingent upon that. We're just making a list and enjoying it as a fun discussion point.

Let's get it on.

FIVE OBVIOUS TRADE NAMES

Michael Young, Rangers. No explanation needed, really.

Heath Bell, Padres. He wants to stay in San Diego and the Padres might want to try and keep him (without having to pay much long term, of course), but when the market for late-inning relievers gets strong in July and the Padres are well out of the race, he'll be one of the most mentioned names.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners. For now, the Mariners have sworn up and down he's never going anywhere. Even if the team is brutal again this season, it's reasonable to believe the Mariners will immediately hang up the phone any time someone like Brian Cashman says the name Felix. But if they start listening and someone is desperate enough to absolutely bowl them over, it very well might happen. He's in the obvious category because I'm sure people will not stop talking about the possibility. My initial feeling is he ends the season in Seattle, however.

Fausto Carmona, Indians. Remember CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee? Carmona is a big step down, but he's still a starting pitcher on the Indians who is not going to re-sign. He only has a club option left on his contract after 2011. When (not if) teams become desperate to add starting pitching in the race -- Yankees and Cardinals come to mind as candidates, but it could be anyone if unforeseen injuries or ineffectiveness pops up -- teams will come calling for Carmona. That is, of course, assuming he's been productive and the Indians are out of it. And you know the Indians will listen. My prediction is he's the most sure bet on here to be traded.

Grady Sizemore, Indians. Same as Carmona, except Sizemore has tons more upside and tons more downside -- due to injury woes. If he shows he's healthy and the Tribe don't inexplicably stay in the AL Central race, he's gone. Only a 2012 club option remains on his contract after this season.

10 NOT-SO-OBVIOUS NAMES


Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers. He's a free agent at the end of the year and we know about the Dodgers' money woes. As long as they aren't in the midst of the race, some team is going to want to bolster its bullpen. This one is pretty feasible, actually.

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals. As with every player's present team on this list, the Cardinals would have to fall out of contention pretty early. If they did, Carpenter has already said he's not averse to a deal. Plus, he's a free agent after the season and there's some big-name soon-to-be free agent the Cards desperately want to keep.

Francisco Cordero, Reds. Only a '12 club option remains on his contract. What if Cordero loses his closing job to Aroldis Chapman early a la Frank Francisco yielding to Neftali Feliz last year? What if the Reds fall out of contention? Easy to see a chain of events here.

Prince Fielder, Brewers. Least likely candidate on here. The Brewers would have to fall really, really far out of the race. If that did happen, yet he was having a big season, another team might pay enough for him that the Brewers couldn't refuse, especially considering he's a free agent after the season and almost certainly leaving.

Travis Hafner, Indians. He's not obvious like Sizemore and Carmona because Pronk has that pesky $13 million due to him in 2012. Of course, let's give an example of someone that might pay: Say the Yankees are five games behind the Red Sox, Jorge Posada is hurt, Jesus Montero either gets traded for pitching or isn't hitting well in the minors and none of the other spare parts (like Eric Chavez) are working. On the flip-side, Pronk is raking. Would the Yankees make that move? I think they might. His pull power from the left-side would fit well in Yankee Stadium.

Aaron Hill, Blue Jays. The Jays are building a good foundation and a Hill deal would give them some flexibility both financially and defensively. They could move top prospect Brett Lawrie back to second base -- the only position he ever played professionally prior to this spring -- and then use Jose Bautista at third or keep him in the outfield, whatever worked best moving forward with the makeup of the roster. If Hill gets off to a hot start and the Jays don't, I like this move.

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He's here because it's already been rumored and the Twins have the option -- at least for now -- to move Kevin Slowey back into the rotation. As long as the Twins are in the thick of the AL Central, though, which should be all season, I don't see it happening.

Brandon Phillips, Reds. Not as far-fetched as you might think. OK, well, the Reds have to fall far out of the race in the NL Central (which seems incredibly unlikely), but if they do, Phillips is a big candidate to be shipped. He has a club option after the season and will be 30 by the deadline. Plus, his power has declined rather significantly since his breakout 2007 campaign.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs. It's hard to see a scenario where the Cubs would pick up Ramirez's 2012 option, so this could easily be his last season in Chicago. If he stays healthy, hits like he can and the Cubs are not in the race by mid-July, he'll definitely be available.

Jose Reyes, Mets. A free agent at the end of the year, if Reyes proves he's healthy and produces numbers while the Mets fall behind in the NL East, he's certain to be dealt.

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:42 pm
 

Michael Pineda makes Mariners rotation

Pineda

By Evan Brunell

The Mariners have decided to go with phenom Michael Pineda in the No. 5 spot of the rotation, as Geoff Baker reports on Twitter.

This is a surprise, as Pineda is just 22 and it would have been entirely justifiable for the Mariners to send him to Triple-A for some more seasoning and wait until June to promote Pineda. By allowing Pineda to break camp with the team, Pineda could hit free agency after the 2016 season. Of course, this is all assuming Pineda stays in the majors and doesn't lose service time in the future, but it is difficult to imagine Pineda blowing up and requiring a demotion. The Mariners would not have made the move to Pineda without being fully confident in both his current talent and ability to sustain it over a full year.

The right-hander was recently named the No. 20 prospect in all of baseball by CBS Sports and could eventually emerge to give the team a wicked complement to Felix Hernandez atop the order.

Pineda split 2010 between Double- and Triple-A, making 13 starts in the lesser league and earning a 2.33 ERA in 77 innings, walking 17 and whiffing 78. While he would walk 17 in Triple-A as well in less innings (62 1/3), he also dialed up his whiff proficiency, seating 76 by way of the K. Due to some bad luck, he finished his Triple-A season with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts.

Now, Pineda will hit the majors and give fans and Ichiro Suzuki something to get excited about. There's promise in the Emerald City with Pineda hitting the majors and Justin Smoak manning first base after being acquired in the Cliff Lee trade. Top hitting prospect Dustin Ackley, who was ranked No. 8 among the top 100 list, will hit the majors at some point this season and take over second base. It will take some time for all the talent to gel together, but there's cause for real optimism.

Pineda will bring up the back of a rotation headlined by Hernandez and followed by Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and Erik Bedard.

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: March 18, 2011 11:18 am
 

Pepper: Kemp has something to prove



By Matt Snyder


Prior to last season, the common sentiment was that Matt Kemp was headed to stardom. It made sense. He was only 25 and was coming off a season where he hit .297 with a .352 OBP and 26 homers, 101 RBI, 97 runs and 34 stolen bases. Though he did hit two more home runs last season, he regressed rather significantly. His average dropped 48 points and OBP was a poor .310. He stole 19 bases, but was caught stealing 15 times. And the stat-line wasn't the worst part. His love life and butting heads with coaches made more news than his actual play.

But the proverbial page has been turned this spring.

"He seems great. I shouldn't say 'seems,' because he's been great," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times .

Kemp came into the spring with that cliche of being in the best shape of his life. So far, it's coming through on the field, as he's hitting .316 with three home runs and three stolen bases. He's looking for it to carry over into the games that actually matter, and there's an extra motivation at play.

"Last year was a very disappointing season, personally and team-wise," he said to the Times. "I felt like I failed in some way. This year, I'm going to try to make sure that doesn't happen again, that we get back to the playoffs and get to where we should be."

HEILMAN ON THE HILL: Aaron Heilman hasn't started a game since 2005, but he's making a strong case to break camp as the Diamondbacks' fifth starter. Two of the three between Heilman, Barry Enright and Armando Galarraga will join the D-Backs' rotation, and Heilman became the first Arizona pitcher to toss five innings Thursday. He allowed two runs -- coming on a Matt Kemp homer, coincidentally. (MLB.com )

ABOUT FELIX'S NO-TRADE CLAUSE: A popular topic this week on the interwebs has been this list of teams Felix Hernandez has on his no-trade clause. Specifically, he can block a trade to the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies and two still-unnamed teams. Now, upon first glance, it might seem he's scared to play in a large-market, high-pressure situation. Quite the contrary, however, as this is actually a savvy move by Hernandez and his agents. Reports indicate these are the teams they felt were most likely to try and acquire King Felix and would be able to offer financial incentives to waive the clause. While we're here, Yankees fans, Felix is not going to be traded this year. It's time to turn the page. (FOX Sports )

NICE CATCH:
Yankees legend Yogi Berra was speaking with Rays manager Joe Maddon Thursday when Berra tripped and began to fall. Maddon caught him. "It's one of those things, you just see it and he's going down. There's Yogi Berra falling right in front of me," Maddon said. "I try to catch him. It might have been my best play as a professional." If not for Maddon's steady hand, it would have been the second fall this spring for Berra. (TBO.com )

OUTFIELD DEFENSE: The best defensive outfield? The Mariners, followed by the Rangers, Giants and Yankees. (MLB.com )

BIG DAY: Kendrys Morales is either going to play Sunday or start the season on the disabled list. He did say rather definitively that he plans to play, but words can only carry you so far. If he's not fully recovered from last season's broken leg, he's just not ready. Mark Trumbo would be the Angels' starting first baseman if Morales can't go. (MLB.com )

ROLEN FOR HALL: This is interesting to me because I rarely consider a Hall of Fame case for a guy who has yet to retire, but Fangraphs.com takes a look at the possible Hall case for Scott Rolen. He probably doesn't pass that gut feeling test -- you know, when people say you should be able to hear the name and automatically just say "Hall of Famer!" if he belongs in -- but it does look like his numbers will merit strong consideration. Fangraphs does warn Rolen is in danger of becoming Ron Santo 2.0.

DEFUNCT LOGOS: This is a fun one. SBNation's Beyond the Box Score takes a look at its top 30 defunct MLB logos. I'm partial to the No. 5 logo, but there are some good ones in there.

LASTINGS IMPRESSION: It's easy to forget that Lastings Milledge is only 25. After all, he was a first-round draft pick in 2003 and was in the majors in 2006. Since then, it's been mostly disappointment, but he is raking this spring with the White Sox -- hitting .314 with four home runs and nine RBI. He hit two bombs in Thursday's win. The biggest plus might be seeing the humility. "Whatever production they get out of me is a plus. I’m not a key piece," he said. (Chicago Sun-Times )

A SIX-YEAR HIATUS? How about a Darren Dreifort comeback? He hasn't pitched since 2004, but threw a bullpen session this week at Dodgers camp. He's 39, but had severe injury woes in his career and retired at age 32. I'd say don't hold your breath. It's spring and sometimes people are just trying to file any story even remotely interesting. (MLB.com )

ON CONTRACTION:
The New York Post has a theory on what the majors could do with the Rays, A's, Mets and Dodgers. The Rays and A's would be contracted while the respective ownership groups would take over the messes that are the Mets and Dodgers. In order to curb the complaints of the player's union, major league rosters would be expanded to 27 players, thereby not eliminating jobs -- it would actually very slightly increase the number of major-league players. It's decent fodder for this time of the year, when we're killing time until the regular season begins, but I just don't ever see contraction happening.

SOUTH KOREAN IDOL: Shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee has fully embraced life in America, as he's become a huge fan of KFC and Papa John's, for example. He's also a big American Idol fan and sings really well -- according to himself. (TampaBay.com )

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Mariners top prospect Pineda to make rotation?

PinedaBy Evan Brunell

Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden is now a host on MLB Network radio and tweeted the Mariners rotation as he sees it after discussing it with manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik.

Topping the rotation to no one's surprise is Felix Hernandez, the AL Cy Young Award winner this past season. Behind him are Jason Vargas and Doug Fister -- soft-tossing pitchers with some success at the major-league level, but nothing to write home about. Vargas did have a 3.78 ERA in 31 starts over 192 2/3 innings, but clearly benefited from Safeco Field -- his home ERA was 2.86, away 4.85 while his overall xFIP was 4.82.

Fister, meanwhile, had a 4.11 ERA in 28 starts and 171 innings pitched, but paired his stingy 1.7 BB/9 rate with a 4.9 K/9 mark. His xFIP was actually intriguingly close to his ERA at 4.27, but exhibited drastic first- and second-half splits. Prior to the All-Star Game, Fister had a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts that spiked to 5.09 in 15 post-break starts.

It's the two starters behind Vargas and Fister that are intriguing. The No. 4 starter appears to be Erik Bedard, with good reports coming out of camp that the lefty is healthy and ready to contribute. When Bedard has been able to take the field the last three years (and not at all in 2010), he has delivered on the promise he flashed in 2009-09 with the Orioles. If Bedard can put together a full season, he could easily be the club's No. 2 starter.

The No. 5 starter appears to be Michael Pineda, the No. 20 prospect in CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list. This isn't a surprise, as Pineda's talents are exceptional and appears near-ready for the majors. However, to come out with Pineda starting the season in the rotation is a bit odd. While money shouldn't be a major influence in a player's arrival in the majors, that's doubly so for big-market teams and/or those in competition. The Giants, for example, won the World Series on the back of Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, who was held down until late May. The Giants ended up needing the final day of the regular season to win the division.

However, the Mariners harbor no illusions that they are not better than the Rangers and Athletics, if not the Angels as well. While .500 is not out of reach for Seattle, the added value of keeping Pineda down until he wouldn't qualify for being a Super Two arbitration-eligible player seems worth more than having Pineda grab 32 starts with the big-league club. While Seattle is a big-market team, that doesn't mean the M's shouldn't take advantage of the rules.

Plus, Pineda hasn't torn apart Triple-A yet and only has 12 starts at that level. The 22-year-old posted a 4.76 ERA last year in those 12 starts after a 2.22 mark in 13 starts. Pineda's strikeout and walk rates in Triple-A held steady, but coughed up a few extra home runs that was likely the difference in the ERA. There just doesn't appear to be an overwhelming reason to bring Pineda up immediately along with No. 8 prospect Dustin Ackley who is preparing to become the second baseman.

Once the calendar flips to June, absolutely bring up Pineda and Ackley. Until then, the Mariners need to focus on getting these players additional seasoning at Triple-A and delaying their clocks as long as possible. 

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Just in case you were wondering about King Felix

By Matt Snyder

Think Felix Hernandez is going to be traded any time soon? Think again.

Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted probably the most definitive statement a general manager could possibly make. "He's not going anywhere," Jack Zduriencik said (via Twitter ). "We've got him. We'll keep him. We're not going to move him."

Any speculation about the Mariners possibly trading King Felix might stem from a midseason trade of Cliff Lee last season. But the situations couldn't be more apples and oranges. Lee was set to be a free agent at the end of 2010, so when the team fell out of the race, it only made sense to get something for him. Plus, Hernandez is only 24 years old. He's already been the best pitcher in the American League for the past two seasons -- and, no, that's not an arguable point -- and the Mariners have him locked up through 2014. Also, Seattle isn't exactly Kansas City in terms of market. The Mariners have a payroll of about $85 million for this season, which places them almost squarely in the middle (14th of 30) in the bigs.

In 2009, Hernandez went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He struck out 217 hitters in 238 2/3 innings and finished second in Cy Young voting. In 2010, he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 232 strikeouts in a whopping 249 2/3 innings. He won the Cy Young award. If he keeps this up, he'll be in for a huge payday come 2015 free agency.

That's a long way away, though, and the Mariners might even be able to afford it. Just get used to seeing him in Mariner garb.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 10, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Mariners sign Vlad's nephew

Yesterday the Mariners signed Felix Hernandez's older brother Moises , and today they've signed Vladimir Guerrero's nephew, Baseball America reports .

Seattle signed the 17-year-old Gabriel Guerrero for $400,000.

Baseball America says Guerrero is a right-handed hitter with power who projects to a corner outfielder with a "solid arm."

Something tells me Geoffrey Pujols is about to hear from Jack Zduriencik.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:25 am
 

Bumgarner among those on Verducci Effect list

Madison Bumgarner Sports Illustrated 's Tom Verducci has come out with his Verducci Effect watch list for 2011 , led by San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

The Verducci Effect states pitchers 25 and younger shouldn't increase their workload more than 30 innings from one year to the next. (In fairness to Verducci, he originally called it the "Year After Effect" because the year after the jump in innings there was a regression or injury).

Last year the 10 on the watch list finished with four pitchers who were hurt or regressed, two we about the same and four -- Mat Latos, Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson and Max Scherzer had breakout years. Verducci notes it was "as strong a showing against the Verducci Effect since I started tracking it."

The 10 on his list for 2011, followed by their age and innings increase in 2010:
Madison Bumgarner, 21, 73
Alex Sanabia, 22, 66 1/3
Mat Latos, 23, 61 2/3
David Price, 25, 58 2/3
Brandon Beachy, 24, 57
Phil Hughes, 24, 46
Brett Cecil, 24, 41 1/3
Gio Gonzalez, 25, 41
Dillon Gee, 24, 40
Travis Wood, 23, 38 1/3
Ivan Nova, 23, 38 1/3

That's not to say all of these pitchers will struggle or get hurt next season -- pitchers are being watch more closely than ever -- but it is something to watch.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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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