Tag:Francisco Cordero
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:59 am
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3 Up, 3 Down: Jimenez dazzles, Drabek falls

Drabek

By Evan Brunell


UpUbaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- In Wednesday's On Deck piece, Jimenez's struggles were documented, as his ERA ranked fourth-worst in baseball among those who were still in the majors and qualified for the ERA title. Well, that ranking just improved as Jimenez dazzled with a complete-game shutout of the Dodgers, stifling them with four hits and no walks with seven whiffs, dropping his ERA under 5.00 to 4.97. That's a major step forward for the righty who is hoping to find the magic that sparked his 2010 run of a 10-1 record.

Francisco Cordero, Reds --
Cordero reached a milestone Wednesday with his 300th overall save, pitching a clean inning with two whiffs against the Brewers. Cordero's having a sublime season so far with a 1.71 ERA and 10 saves, which is surprising coming off his up-and-down 2010, making him a prime target for those who expected Aroldis Chapman to be closing games by now. Jay Bruce and Joey Votto each slammed a two-run home run, one in the seventh and one in the eighth to make Cordero's save possible. The win pushed the Reds to their fourth win in 15 games.

Billy Butler, Royals --
The Royals/Angels game was deadlocked at zero apiece before Billy Butler stepped to the plate with one out in the ninth inning. He then sent fans home happy on a walkoff home run with a two-run job to send the Royals to victory, pushing Los Angeles to .500. But it wasn't actually a homer in the first place, as umpires originally ruled it a double. Good thing too, because Jeff Francouer stopped running on the play and wouldn't have scored had the play been upheld. "I ran out and told (umpire) Fieldin Culbreth, 'I've got no stinking idea where that ball hit,'" Royals manager Ned Yost told the Associated Press. "He said, 'Don't worry about it. We're going to do the right thing right now because I'm not really sure either. We'll go check it.' The replay showed it did make it over that fence and bounced back."

DownKyle Drabek, Blue Jays --
Drabe's fall from grace was only a matter of time, as his 1:1 K/BB ratio going into the game did not portend success. The touted right-hander can eventually emerge as the ace of the staff, but for now, it's clear the 23-year-old still has some work to do. Drabek lasted only two outs of the game, exiting after coughing up three walks and four earned runs to balloon his ERA to 4.69. And as Jeff Sullivan notes, Drabek made some unwanted history, as his strike rate of 54.8 percent would represent the worst rate over the last 12 years in baseball by a pitcher with at least 100 innings to his name. (Drabek has 63 1/3 innings on the year.) That's history you don't want.

Tim Lincecum, Giants --
The Freak was anything but Wednesday, as the Cardinals teed off for five runs in 6 1/3 innings, coughing up 10 hits although he struck out nine and walked zero, so it wasn't all bad. Still, that pushed his ERA to 2.59 after he had shaved it down with a 1.22-ERA May. It looked as if he would head to a loss before the Giants scored one in the top ninth then tacked on two in the 11th to seal the deal. The big blast came from Allan Craig, who had a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the seventh to send the Cardinals up by one.

Alcides Escobar, Royals --
Escobar's 0-for-3 night dropped his OPS to a putrid .497 on the "strength" of a .212/.249/.249 line. He has 41 hits in 193 trips to the plate and only seven extra-base hits, all doubles. Still, Escobar will get plenty of playing time as K.C. loves his defensive work. There's something to be said for shipping him to Triple-A and allowing him to gain confidence against lesser pitchers, but Escobar has plenty of time logged in the bigs and at some point, needs to start producing. To be fair to him, he made a crucial defensive play with the bases loaded in the eighth to preserve the tie.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 8:30 pm
 

La Russa irked by Reds broadcaster

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Little surprise here, but Tony La Russa is upset at other people and what they do or say.

Marty BrennamanOn Tuesday, he was asked about these comments from Reds radio play-by-play man Marty Brennaman (right) during Monday's Reds-Cubs broadcast about the complaints made by Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who complained about the mound at Great American Ball Park:

Marty Brennaman: The grounds crew did an incredible job, despite what that whiner and excuse-maker Chris Carpenter complained about the mound and the smoke after the fireworks -- Travis Wood didn't.

Jim Kelch: It's always something when they come in here.

Brennaman: Yeah, that's the line Joe Petini laid on the media, that every time they come in here, it's always something with that team. Oh, really? You might be the most unliked team in baseball and it's always the other team? Unbelievable.

(via the Cincinnati Enquirer)

Joe Pettini, the acting manager of the Cardinals over the weekend, said, "It's always something when you come in here." 

Later, Brennaman called Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan "infantile" for his criticism of Reds closer Francisco Cordero for hitting Albert Pujols in Sunday's Reds victory.

Well, Tuesday, La Russa fired back.

"I think the safest thing to say is he's a Hall of Famer, and he should get the respect that inclusion in that place deserves," La Russa said, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. "And then he ought to earn it every day from his Hall of Fame induction forward. He ought to earn it and not abuse it."

Brennaman won the Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2000. Brennaman is well known for saying exactly what he feels on the air and that's gotten him in trouble occasionally, but he's been paid for many, many years to say exactly what he feels and that's not changed anytime recently. That's what makes listening to Brennaman a joy, he calls a great game and doesn't let anything hold him back -- even to the dismay of some Reds players and officials. There are homers out there, but Brennaman isn't one of them.

Brennaman was honored by the Hall of Fame because he does his job well, and sometimes that includes criticism. La Russa will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible, but that will be as a manager, not a broadcaster. He doesn't have to like what Brennaman said, but Brennaman is living up to his reputation -- and his duties -- as he says what he did about the Cardinals, Carpenter and Duncan. La Russa, too, has a right to defend his players and coaches, even though at time it may be better just to decline comment. But hey, it keeps keep us bloggers employed, so there's that. And with the Reds and Cardinals battling for the NL Central crown (along with the Brewers and Cubs) in a race that won't be decided until the end of the season, the back-and-forth should give us fodder for months to come.

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Posted on: May 15, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 6:35 pm
 

Reds-Cardinals end game in shouting match



By Matt Snyder


The bad blood between the Reds and Cardinals just keeps growing. Sunday, as the Reds polished off the Cardinals for a three-game sweep and control of the NL Central, a war of words broke out after the final out between the two teams.

On the Reds' end, it was Francisco Cordero with a little support from Johnny Cueto screaming into the Cardinals' dugout. I'm not a great lip reader, but it appeared Cordero politely (please note sarcasm) telling the Cardinals to go home. Cueto was more jovial for the most part, waving good-bye and smiling through most of the exchange.

On the Cardinals' end, it wasn't initially clear who was doing the yelling and about half the dugout seemed to be perplexed. After the game, however, reports indicated Gerald Laird was yelling at Cordero about hitting Albert Pujols in the wrist with a pitch. (Mark Sheldon via Twitter)

That's pretty ridiculous. I understand there are bad feelings from the Cardinals' dugout about the Reds, specifically Cueto and Brandon Phillips because of some comments and actions toward St. Louis last season. Rightfully so, considering Phillips called the Cardinals "little bitches" and Cueto was trying to kick people in the head with cleats during their brawl. But in this situation, there is no way the Reds wait until the top of the ninth and in the middle of a game-altering rally to dot Pujols on purpose. The Cards had already scored five runs to cut the lead to 9-7 and Pujols represented the tying run. With Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman being the next two hitters, putting Pujols on base on purpose is one of the dumbest possible things the Reds could do there -- aside from bringing in Aroldis Chapman, which had already been done to jump-start the rally. Both Cordero and catcher Ramon Hernandez said as much after the game to reporters.

“When you’re up by two, do you really want to put the tying run on first base with one out and Holliday and Berkman – one of the hottest hitters of the season so far?" Hernandez asked.

"Gerald Laird did not even play and he’s the one yelling at me because I hit Pujols 0-2 … 0-2," Cordero said. "I wasn’t trying to hit him. I’ve got to face Holliday next. They can take the lead with one swing. Lance Berkman is one of the great hitters in the National League. All I know is [Laird] was loud and saying something to me. I said something back to him."

Still, apparently there were some on the Cardinals who took issue with the pitch.

“We don’t like it when somebody like Albert gets hit, especially in that type of situation," said Cardinals acting manager Joe Pettini (all quotes via Mark My Word). "A lot of guys took offense to it, didn’t like it. That’s baseball. You pitch inside, but you better have a clue when you come inside. They took offense to it, we took offense to it, and the soap opera continues between these guys. There’s always something when you come in here.”

Maybe it was simply emotions after getting swept and losing first place, but any complaints coming from the Cardinals should be at their own failings in the past three games.

For the record, Pujols told reporters after the game he didn't think the hit-by-pitch was intentional. (Joe Strauss via Twitter)

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:31 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Young, Zobrist sizzle

Young

By Evan Brunell

Michael Young, Rangers -- Funny how things work out. Although Young was already slated to receive the bulk of starts at DH, injuries have really opened the door for Young and he's played in every single game so far. The 34-year-old is hitting .348 after a 4-for-4 night with a homer led Texas over New York, 7-5. It's safe to say that he has no complaints about his playing time, even as he toggles between first and second base along with DH.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks -- A fine effort for Hudson, who allowed just five hits in seven innings, punching out six Padres in seven innings. Hudson hasn't quite lived up to the expectations he set last season after coming over in the Edwin Jackson trade... but really, who could? Hudson's ERA got pushed down to 4.47 and he's gotten into a nice groove over his last three starts with 20 strikeouts and just one walk in 20 innings.

Ben Zobrist, Rays -- The Zorilla extended his hitting streak to 13 with his fine 4-for-5 effort and continues to show that his down 2010 season was the aberration, not new norm. His three runs scored helped push the Rays to a 8-3 victory over the Orioles. Zobrist is now up to .283/.350/.577, making him one of the AL's best hitters to date.

Honorable mention -- Some dude named Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays in an outing that defeats Francisco Liriano for best no-hitter of the season while Yovanni Gallardo took a no-hitter into the eighth and settled for one-hitting the Cardinals through eight.


Francisco Cordero, Reds -- Cordero couldn't hold off a scorching hot Carlos Pena, who homered in the ninth inning before Kosuke Fukudome walked off with a single. It was Cordero's first blown save of the season and he simply didn't have it today. He registered two outs, whiffing one but coughed up four hits and two earned runs to push his ERA to a still-low 2.45. There's no closer controversy yet in Cincinnati, although Aroldis Chapman lurks.

Jason Kubel, Twins -- Jason Kubel whiffed all four trips to the plate, just like Juan Uribe did for the Dodgers, except Uribe had one more at-bat where he at least put the ball in play before registering an out. Kubel gets the honors here because he batted cleanup and stood idly by while Minnesota registered only three hits in a meek showing against Boston.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles -- Guthrie's been a nice surprise so far this season and seems to have taken a leap forward toward being a solid No. 2 for many teams. Except he took a step back Saturday by coughing up seven earned runs in five innings along with 10 hits allowed. He did allow just one walk and whiffed four, so it wasn't all bad. The Rays were simply on fire, led by Zobrist and B.J. Upton. Guthrie's ERA now stands at 4.09 and will draw the Rays on Friday.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Closer watch: Franklin, Nathan, Thornton out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

John AxfordAs we're getting deeper into the first month of the season, some of the "small sample size" arguments are losing their luster and managers are getting itchy. There's no position in baseball that causes more consternation than the closer's spot -- and few are easier to change. 

On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Ryan Franklin was out as his closer, joining Ozzie Guillen and Ron Gardenhire in making changes in closers already this season, a common April occurance.

Here's a look at where all the closers in baseball stand at this moment:

Out -- Ryan Franklin (Cardinals), Joe Nathan (Twins), Matt Thornton (White Sox).

We won't know who the replacement for Franklin is until it comes to a save situation (Matt Snyder took a look at who may get the call -- and I'll agree that Mitchell Boggs gets the first shot) and even then, we'll have to have a few save situations until we get there.

Matt Capps has taken over for Nathan, who is not back 100 percent from Tommy John surgery, in Minnesota.

Thornton may get the call if the White Sox get in a save situation, but Ozzie Guillen has no confidence in anybody in his bullpen and has said he just doesn't have a closer.

Hanging by a thread -- John Axford (Brewers), Sean Burnett (Nationals), Kevin Gregg (Orioles).

Axford (pictured) started his season off by blowing a save in Cincinnati and added another Monday night. He's struggled with his command this season, but the Brewers don't have too many better options.

The Nationals have gone from no closer, to Burnett back to no set closer. After Burnett blew a save on Friday, Drew Storen closed with two innings on Sunday against the Brewers. The two are expected to share the job, but Burnett's not "out" because he's still half in.

Hand wringing -- Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers), Joakim Soria (Royals), Francisco Rodriguez (Mets).

These are three marquee names, but there's plenty of worry surrounding the trio.

Soria has struggled and has a 5.59 ERA, blowing one save, while Broxton hasn't blown a save, but has given up plenty of runs. He has an ERA of 6.14 and his manager's vote of confidence.

K-Rod, well, he's got plenty of issues, including a contract with a vesting option that the Mets aren't really interested in seeing him meet. That said, it's not like he's getting a lot of chances to close out Met victories for the team with the National League's worst record.

Nobody's perfect --  Brian Fuentes (Athletics), Carlos Marmol (Cubs), Jon Rauch (Blue Jays).

Rauch has been good, converting all three of his saves this season, but the return of Frank Francisco complicates things for him in Toronto.

Solid -- Mariano Rivera (Yankees), Heath Bell (Padres), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Huston Street (Rockies), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates), Leo Nunez (Marlins), Chris Perez (Indians), Brian Wilson (Giants), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Jose Valverde (Tigers).

Sure, Rivera blew a save last night. I think Joe Girardi may give him another shot.

If a save falls in a forrest -- Francisco Cordero (Reds), Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox), Brandon Lyon (Astros), Brandon League (Marienrs), Kyle Farnsworth (Rays), Jordan Walden (Angels).

If the rest of the closers are in a "small sample size" argument right now, these guys have a "tiny sample size."

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Pepper: Closer concerns in NL Central

Brandon Lyon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The National League Central appears to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball, with up to four legit contenders for the crown, so every little difference is going to be magnified when it comes to the end of the season.

While we're a long way from magic numbers, but the division's closer could be cause for concern.

In the first weekend of games, NL Central closers blew four of eight save chances -- including the first three -- and had an ERA of 12.91. Only Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan (who is 2 for 2 on save opportunities) hasn't allowed an earned run among the division's six closers.

All six closers have had save opportunities, and half of them are save-less. Milwaukee's John Axford has allowed four earned runs and hasn't finished an inning in two appearances, allowing a walk-off three-run homer to Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez on Thursday and allowing two hits on Sunday before being replaced.

St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin gave up a game-tying homer in an eventual opening-day loss to the Padres and Houston's Brandon Lyon allowed six hits and three runs, picking up the loss against the Phillies on Friday.

The Cubs' Carlos Marmol struck out the side on Saturday for his first save, but Sunday he walked one and allowed two hits to cough up a lead, sending the Cubs to a 5-4 loss to the Pirates (and setting up Hanrahan's second save).

And then there's Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero, who picked up a save, but didn't instill much confidence in anyone, allowing two hits and a run in Saturday's Reds victory against the Brewers.

It could be a wild ride this year in the NL Central this season, and that's just the ninth inning.

HOMETOWN BOY -- Padres manager Bud Black said part of his reason for setting his rotation as he did was to allow San Diego native Aaron Harang make the start for the Padres' home-opener at Petco Park on Tuesday.

Black said it also helped that Harang has a history of opening day starts. Harang started five consecutive opening days in Cincinnati. He is in his first season with the Padres. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PRETTY MUCH -- Dustin Pedroia on the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox: "They kicked our ass, that's it." [Boston Herald]

RAY OF HOPE -- On opening day, the Rays announced a long-term deal with Wade Davis. The team's No. 1 starter, David Price, said he'd be interested in a long-term deal as well.

"Everybody here knows that I feel very comfortable here with the Rays," Price told MLB.com. "And I feel like I fit in very well with this organization and how they do stuff. If it's something we're able to get done, it's definitely something I'd like to do."

TURF CALF? -- Johnny Damon said Tropicana Field's artificial surface may have contributed to his right calf tightness that forced him to be scratched from Sunday's lineup. [St. Petersburg Times]

ANGEL TOURISTS -- Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter talk about how special the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is to them. [Orange County Register]

BASEBALL ART -- Aubrey Huff made a diving catch in Los Angeles on Saturday and before Sunday's game, Pat Burrell, Dan Runzler and Brandon Belt taped a body outline in the outfield where Huff made his catch. Here's a picture of their art.

HALLOWED GROUND -- Volunteers cleaned up at the old Tiger Stadium and finished off with a pickup game of baseball. The Navin Field Grounds Crew will be doing this every week during the summer in Detroit, hoping to allow everyone to use the field. [Detroit Free Press]

JAPANESE HERITAGE DAY -- The best highlight of Sunday's Japanese Heritage Day in Oakland was when Ichiro Suzuki caught Kurt Suzuki's fly in right and threw out Hideki Matsui at third base. The A's and their fans also raised more than $65,000 for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. [San Francisco Chronicle]

HUMIDOR SECURITY -- MLB has tightened its security procedures concerning the humidor at Coors Field, an "authenticator" will keep an eye on all the baseballs from when they're taken out of the humidor to the umpire's room where they're rubbed down to the Rockies dugout, where they're kept. During the game, he'll watch the bag. [Denver Post]

CARDS OWNER CONFIDENT -- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is happy with his team and confident, but added the team does have playroom flexibility of "several million dollars" if the team needs something later in the season. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

COPYING BAGWELL -- Astros shortstop Clint Barmes will wear a protective pad on his left batting glove when he returns to action. Barmes suffered a fractured bone in his hand late in spring training when he was hit by a pitch. Barmes said it's the exact same pad attached by velcro that former Astro Jeff Bagwell used to wear. Barmes said he wore a similar pad after breaking his hand in 2002, but will make it a permanent addition this time. [MLB.com]

VLAD THE ENIGMA -- Vladimir Guerrero has wowed us on the field for years, but not much is known about him off the field. But the Baltimore Sun's Kevin Van Valkenburg and Jeff Zrebiec have managed to write a really interesting feature on the new Oriole. For instance, before every home series, Guerrero writes down the name of all the Spanish-speaking players and coaches coming to town, and will then have his mom cook food for all the Latin players and bring it to the park. Guerrero's mom has lived with him since he was in Montreal. [Baltimore Sun]

REALLY? -- Wearing a guy's jersey to a game is one thing, but a whole uniform, catching gear and all? This Philadelphia fan was at Sunday's game wearing complete catcher's gear, a glove, mask and even taped wrists. I wonder if security allowed him through the gate with metal spikes? [Philadelphia Daily News]

OAKLAND'S 'DUMP' -- Apparently the field at the Oakland Coliseum smells like sewage. And that's not all that's wrong with the Coliseum. [San Francisco Chronicle]

GREINKE PROGRESSING -- The Brewers expect Zack Greinke to throw off the mound at some point during the team's week-long homestead starting today. Greinke still isn't expected to return this month, but throwing off the mound is the first step to determining when he can return. He played long toss and threw from 60 feet before Sunday's game in Cincinnati. [MLB.com]

BLAKE BETTER -- Casey Blake is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and hopes to be ready when he is eligible. The Dodgers are in Denver on Wednesday. [Los Angeles Times]

REWARD OFFERED -- A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case of Dodger fans beating Giants fan Bryan Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two. Stow is currently in a medically induced coma. [Los Angeles Times]

SIGNS YOU'RE OLD -- When Jim Thome faced Blue Jays rookie Kyle Drabek on Saturday, the TV folks accidentally put up Thome's career numbers against Doug Drabek, Kyle's father. [UniWatch Blog]

IZZY SHELVED -- Jason Isringhausen, attempting a comeback with the Mets, left an extended spring training game on Saturday after feeling a "twinge" in his back. [New York Daily News]

DIFFERENT SWING -- John Smoltz talks about his attempt at a golf career. [Detroit Free Press]

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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 4, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 9:00 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Jon Daniels' best, worst moves

DanielsBy Evan Brunell

The Rangers have handed GM Jon Daniels a four-year extension, rewarding the 33-year-old for steering the club to its first-ever AL pennant in 2010. For all of Daniels' talents, however, he's made quite a few missteps along the way. Here's a look back at Daniels' three best and worst moves as Rangers GM...

3 UP

1. The Teix Heist

The reason the Rangers made the World Series is thanks to the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves. Consummated at the trade deadline of 2007, this deal represented the first time Daniels was trading away a major piece of a team and he needed to hit a home run.

He did. By dealing Teix and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay, Daniels hauled in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitchers Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones. The fact Salty stalled in Texas is concerning, but many viewed the backstop at the time as one of the elite young catchers in the game. Andrus would go on to blossom as Texas' starting shortstop while Feliz won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with 40 saves last season and is currently shifting to the rotation. Harrison is a young lefty who is battling for a rotation spot himself, while Jones is the one non-entity.

This deal will continue to pay dividends over time, as Andrus and Feliz will be in town for years to come while Harrison is valuable depth. Saltalamacchia's career is not yet over as he is slated to start in Boston, and the jury is out on Daniels' return for Salty in three minor leaguers.

2. Game Over

Daniels made another significant trade the day of the 2007 trade deadline when he dealt "Game Over" Eric Gagne and cash to the Red Sox for Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and Engel Beltre.

Gagne was impressive in his first season as an ex-Dodger and after missing the bulk of the 2006 season. He wasn't the lockdown closer of old, but looked as if he could be a quality part of the bullpen. Except as Red Sox fans know, he completely imploded and while he walked away with a World Series trade, he will forever be known as Gag-me in Boston. (For some reason, there are over 11,000 views of a video I took recording Gagne's Red Sox debut.) His saving grace in Boston was as a Type-B free agent, and the Red Sox would later trade the player they drafted with the compensatory pick to Cleveland as part of the Victor Martinez deal.

Meanwhile, David Murphy is one of the more valuable fourth outfielders in the game and would be a starter for many other teams. Beltre has his makeup questions but is developing nicely as Texas' center fielder of the future. Gabbard flamed out, but at the time was a possible back-of-the-rotation starter.

3. Draft Bonanza

A major reason why Daniels has stayed viable as GM of the Rangers is his drafting history. Of course, major credit goes to the people working under him that are in charge of the draft, but Daniels deserves credit for putting these people in those roles as well as having a hand in the drafting and development of these players.

His first draft pick, Kasey Kiker, has yet to develop significantly but is just 22 and does hold some promise. However, his following two have had major league time already: power-hitting Chris Davis who has unfortunately failed time and time again to lock down a starting spot in Texas and Danny Herrera, who is a member of the Reds bullpen currently and was used to get Josh Hamilton. Michael Main was used to get Bengie Molina, while Blake Beavan and Justin Smoak were packaged for Cliff Lee

Tommy Hunter was a viable member of the rotation last season and could have a nice career as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, while Julio Borbon is prepared to start in center field. Tanner Scheppers ranked No. 77 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects and  may have ranked higher if he was clearly going to be a starter. The club also came away with an impressive haul in the 2010 draft.

Honorable Mention: One would expect the deal bringing in Josh Hamilton to be one of Daniels' better deals, but it's hard to justify that as one of his best deals simply by virtue of giving up Edinson Volquez. There's no denying Hamilton's talent -- after all, he won the AL MVP award -- but Volquez has turned out pretty well for himself. There's a similar case to be made for the trade that imported Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz from Milwaukee in exchange for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Juan Cordero, so the honorable mention goes to signing Colby Lewis to a two-year deal prior to the 2010 season. Lewis was an utter failure stateside before heading to Japan and discovering his talent. Daniels didn't hesitate to bring in Lewis, and all he did was become the Rangers' best right-handed starter in the team's run to the AL pennant.

3 DOWN

1. The Young and Heartless

In March of 2007, Daniels signed shortstop Michael Young to a five-year, $80 million extension, a contract that was strange at the time and now has snowballed. Two seasons later, Daniels bumped Young to third base in a contentious move to free up short for Elvis Andrus. Young's bat has continued to be solid, but he remained a defensive liability at third and in a much-publicized spat, is now headed to DH and first base after demanding a trade. However, thanks to Young's contract, it will be difficult to move him.

Daniels certainly shouldn't have signed Young to this deal, but that's not why this ranks as one of his three worst moves as GM. While there's a lot of "he-said, he-said" going on by both sides, the fact remains that Young is not very keen on speaking to Daniels and feels "misled." Whether or not you believe Daniels or Young (or think the true answer is somewhere in-between), Daniels should have done a far better job managing the crisis as this has become a nightmare, both in terms of Young's trade value and in public relations. Heck, it even made a three-year-old kid very upset.

2. A-Gone

It's hard to fault Jon Daniels for trading away Adrian Gonzalez as he needed pitching and had Mark Teixeira at first. But goodness, couldn't he have done better? In his second significant trade of his GM career -- the first was also pretty bad -- Daniels shipped away someone who would become one of the best first-basemen in the game in short order in Gonzalez to the Padres along with Chris Young, who fashioned a nice run for himself in the rotation for San Diego. Terrmel Sledge was a throw-in to get Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian in return.

Eaton was a disaster, making just 13 starts and moving onto the Phillies where he was even worse, while Otsuka became the Rangers' closer but fell to injury in 2007 at age 35 and has not returned to the majors since. Killian is now in independent baseball.

Hey, every GM has trades they regret. It's part of life. But this is one regrettable trade that makes one really cringe looking back on it.

3. A-Rod to Soriano to Nothing

OK, so Daniels wasn't responsible for the initial trade of Alex Rodriguez, but he certainly was responsible for turning Rodriguez's return in Alfonso Soriano into something. Unfortunately, his first major trade was a flop when he shipped Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge. Sledge would be shipped in another terrible deal a month later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, while Wilkerson couldn't arrest the decline he began in his final season for the Nats in '06. He did not top 350 at-bats in the two seasons he was a Ranger.

While Galarraga was and still is nothing to write home about, he chewed up almost 500 innings for the Tigers after the Rangers essentially gave him away, predominantly as a starter the last three seasons -- and of course, as the architect of the 28-out perfect game. He is now a Diamondback and expected to serve in the back of the rotation. These types of pitchers are far from sexy and you can't blame Daniels for tossing Galarraga in the deal, but it only serves to make this deal look even worse given he got absolutely nothing of value for Soriano, which in turn meant the team got nothing for A-Rod.

In Daniels' defense, he was handicapped by Soriano entering the final year of his deal, but Daniels should have looked for prospects in any deal, not an outfielder on the decline, a pitcher he would give away a couple years later and a bit piece that would go on to become part of Daniels' worst trade to date.

Dishonorable Mention: Not to pile on Daniels, who has turned into a very fine GM, but just like he has plenty of candidates for honorable mention, he has candidates for this category as well. Signing Kevin Millwood to a five-year, $60 million deal was head-scratching at the time and he stumbled badly on December 23, 2006 when he dealt away John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano. Danks and McCarthy were two highly-regarded prospects at the time, but Danks is the one that blossomed, while Masset would go on to bust out himself as an important part of the Reds bullpen.

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