Tag:Heath Bell
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 5:20 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

PhilliesBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series... 

Team name: Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 102-60, First place NL East. Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-2.
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Best hitter: Shane Victorino -- .279/.355/.491, 17 HR, 95 R, 19 SB
Best pitcher: Roy Halladay -- 19-6, 233 2/3 IP, 2.35 ERA, 35 BB, 220 K

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Phillies didn't waste time asserting their superiority, running out to an 18-8 record. Cliff Lee needed some time to get going in uniform, racking up a 4.15 ERA in five starts, but better times were on the way. Meanwhile, the other three aces didn't have any problem locking down games, even though the offense was exposed with the loss of Jayson Werth. Ben Francisco got April off to a rollicking start, but tailed off in May as the club went 16-13. Vance Worley, who stepped into the rotation to replace Joe Blanton, made his first start on April 29, posting a 2.14 ERA in his first five starts.

R.I.P. series

The club then registered two consecutive 17-win months and struck for Hunter Pence at the trade deadline. Philly then ran a nine-game winning streak into August, leading to their best month with an 18-7 record. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, their shot at extending their 102 victories higher was derailed by a September that saw an eight-game losing streak. Despite that, they were so dominant, they posted a 30-10 record in blowout games, as defined by Baseball Reference.

The playoffs were another story, though, as the Phillies lost in five games to the wild-card winning Cardinals. The offense was mostly the culprit.

2012 AUDIT

Philadelphia is still the class of the NL, even though everyone is one year older. Fortunately, the team is shedding the contracts of Raul Ibanez and Brad Lidge most notably, so there is payroll flexibility to be had that will allow for a significant signing. It will still be some time before the Phillies drastically drop out of contention, and the club needs to continue its philosophy of putting all its eggs in one basket and contending while it still can. Flags fly forever.

FREE AGENTS

Ross Gload, 1B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Brad Lidge, RP ($12.5 million club option)
Ryan Madson, RP
Roy Oswalt, SP ($16 million mutual option)
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Brian Schneider, C

OFFSEASON FOCUS

  • Sign Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies will throw gobs of cash at the best closer they can get. Ryan Madson had an incredible season, finally delivering on his potential, but he's no Papelbon. Papelbon has done it all -- won a World Series, pitched in incredibly tight situations, pitched against elite competition and has experience playing in a hitter's park. (Health Bell, for example, would likely succeed no matter where he plays, but it's inarguable that he also is lucky to pitch in Petco Park.) Who knows if the Red Sox will let Papelbon get away, but the Phils need to try. Madson or Bell would be Plan B. Obviously, the team shouldn't pick up Lidge's option, but should absolutely explore bringing him back as setup man.
  • With Ryan Howard's injury knocking him out until at least May -- if not longer -- the Phillies need to get aggressive on offense. They simply had too much trouble in 2011 with the bat, so need to go after one of the better bats on the market and sign Josh Willingham. Willingham can fill in at first base with Howard's absence. That allows John Mayberry and top prospect Dominic Brown to share time in left. When Howard returns, Willingham simply shifts to left field. Yes, that puts Mayberry and Brown on the bench, but word is Philadelphia has soured on Brown as a long-term player. As for Mayberry, he had quite the coming-out party, but a team like Philadelphia can't make any assumptions about his long-term viability.
  • Bring back Jimmy Rollins. Rollins may not give the club a hometown discount, but he's a very popular player in town and will cost much, much less than Jose Reyes. Even the Phillies can't throw cash around at any player they want. They could potentially sign Jose Reyes, but that would likely mean giving up on Papelbon (or any high-salaried closer), and that would be the wrong move.
  • Let Roy Oswalt walk. While Oswalt is still a good pitcher, $14 million is a lot to pay for someone that may not be capable of making 32 starts anymore. (He has a $16 million mutual option with a $2 million buyout, so the true cost is $14 million.) There doesn't need to be any replacement starter, as Vance Worley can move up to No. 4 and Joe Blanton can slide in at No. 5. The club would need to sign some solid pitchers for Triple-A as depth, though.
  • Bring in a solid utility infielder. One of Philly's biggest issues this past season was offense. Hunter Pence helped address that, but the team needs to upgrade where they can regardless. Wilson Valdez is fine as backup shortstop, but Adam Kennedy should be brought in to man second and third, as well as become pinch-hitter du jour after revitalizing his career in Seattle. Kennedy would have to settle for less playing time, but here's figuring that's not an issue for Philadelphia.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:12 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 San Diego Padres

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: San Diego Padres
Record: 68-88, 19.5 games back in NL West
Manager: Bud Black
Best hitter: Chase Headley -- .291/.377/.405, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 42 R, 28 2B, 13 SB
Best pitcher: Mat Latos -- 8-14, 3.60 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 176 K, 187 1/3 IP

Nobody expected much out of the Padres after losing Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox  and they didn't disappoint. If 2010's run at the NL West title was a shock, 2011's last-place finish wasn't.

2011 SEASON RECAP

San Diego was eight games back by the end of April, so it's hardly a surprise the team finished dead last in the NL West. After fantastic pitching led the team to the brink of the playoffs a year ago, the team couldn't recreate its magic of 2010. Mat Latos took a step back (but was still pretty good), while Clayton Richard made just 18 starts before being shut down for the season and undergoing shoulder surgery.

While nobody stepped up to take all of Gonzalez's offensive load, the team had some surprisingly good offensive performances, as third baseman Chase Headley put together a solid season, as did catcher Nick Hundley (.289/.352/.471 with eight homers) and first baseman Jesus Guzman (.313/.369/.479 with five homers). And then there was Cameron Maybin, the former first-round pick of the Tigers and big part of the trade that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera from Florida to Detroit had been labeled as a disappointment for several years now despite the fact he's now just 24 years old. Not only did Maybin hit a respectable .266/.322/.397 with nine homers and 38 stolen bases, he's shown the ability to patrol the spacious outfield at Petco. If he continues to improve and works on his on-base percentage, Maybin can be a maintain in San Diego.

2012 AUDIT

With the rise of the Diamondbacks, the return of the Giants, what has to be a better year for the Rockies and hopefully new ownership in Los Angeles, there's not much room for optimism in the NL West for the lowly Padres. But hey, it's a really nice ballpark, and you live in San Diego, what can you really complain about?

The rotation should be relatively stable, with Latos, Richard, Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley, with Cory Luebke, Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland and Casey Kelly ready to step in if needed. The bullpen is a bigger question, with free agent Heath Bell and the departure of Mike Adams

The biggest weakness in the lineup is the middle infield, where Orlando Hudson was OK, but aging, and Jason Bartlett didn't do much. Kyle Blanks has once again flashed the ability to rise above the constraints of the ballpark, but lacked consistency.

FREE AGENTS

Heath Bell, RP
Jeremy Hermida, OF

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Can the Padres get anyone who can actually hit the ball? Or is it that tough to do Petco Park? Well, it'd be nice to get a big bopper, but with the reputation of Petco, no free agent hitter in his right mind is going to sign with San Diego. Even those with good numbers before coming to Petco, like Ryan Ludwick, left without much success. While Ludwick hasn't exactly rebounded in Pittsburgh, his free agent stock will take a tumble and there's no doubt he and his agent will blame it on Petco. Petco -- and the team's payroll ceiling -- will force the Padres to add offense through trades and developments rather than free-agent signings.

Then there's the matter of the team's bullpen. There will be a lot of the same names, but the backend will be different than it was this season after the trade of Adams and the possible departure of Bell. Here's five things I'd do to help the Padres going forward:

  • Wave goodbye to Bell. Bell wants to stay in San Diego, but the team's budget can't afford a luxury such as a veteran closer like Bell, who made $7.5 million in 2011 and will be expecting a raise. San Diego held onto the right-hander at the trade deadline, but for a team like the Padres, the value of the draft picks if he doesn't accept arbitration and signs elsewhere was more than the team would receive at the trade deadline. It's tough to see Bell go, but is hardly like watching Trevor Hoffman save games for another team. That's  something they've lived with before and can live with again.
  • Trade Guzman to the American League. The guy is born to be a designated hitter and you just don't utilize that position in the National League. The Padres should ignore Anthony Rizzo's 2011 (.138/.274/.244 in 146 plate appearances) and let him get his chance to play every day in 2012. Rizzo struggled in the big leagues, but killed it in Triple-A. There's enough talent there to believe the Triple-A results are the real deal. If not, you know going forward. Guzman could pick up yet another starter, a reliever or even a replacement second baseman for the the aging Hudson.
  • Pick up the option on Aaron Harang. It's a mutual option, so he has a say, but there's no player happier to be playing for one team than Harang is playing for San Diego. A native of San Diego, Harang has loved being around his and his wife's families, especially after having Twins last December. A close second to family concerns for Harang is the relief of pitching in Petco Park. A fly-ball pitcher, Harang gave up an average of 24 homers a year in his six full seasons in Cincinnati, with 35 in 2008. This season he's allowed 20 -- and just seven at home. He's not going to get Cy Young votes anymore, but he'll be steady in the rotation. While Harang could maybe get more than the $5 million the Padres are on the line to pay in 2012, he's not going to get any more money from San Diego. It's the perfect marriage for the player and the team. There was certainly itnerest in Harang at the trade deadline this year, and there may be a year from now, too. 
  • See what you have in outfielder James Darnell. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Darnell hit .310/.406/.547 with 23 homer runs. Darnell had been a third baseman, but played a bit in the outfield for Triple-A Tucson. He needs to work on outfield play in the offseaosn and come into camp ready to take a spot.
  • Any free agent signings need to be modest and target the bullpen. Target lower-priced, veteran arms who could help out in the bullpen, not overpriced closers. Names to think about include Shawn Camp, Matt Belisle and Todd Coffey. Nobdoy's going to get excited about these moves, but they could work out and shouldn't cost too much.

No, the Padres aren't going to the World Series with these moves, but they'll be under budget and have a better idea of what their futures holds after the 2012 season. Some things may not work out, Rizzo may not be the hitter we think he is, but we'll know. And as a wise man once said, that's half the battle. The other half is lasers. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Bell staying put in San Diego

By Matt Snyder

Two days ago, Padres closer Heath Bell was claimed off revocable waivers by the Giants. It's possible the Giants were looking for some bullpen insurance due to injuries to Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo, but it's also possible the Giants just didn't want any other playoff contenders to get a shot at Bell. Regardless of the reason, it doesn't matter now. The Giants and Padres had until 1:00 p.m. ET Friday to agree on a trade, and it hasn't happened, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. So Bell remains in San Diego.

Bell, 33, is set to be a free agent at the conclusion of this season. He's converted 35 of 39 save chances this season with a 2.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP with 40 strikeouts in 53 innings.

It's entirely possible Bell does walk in free agency -- though the Padres plan to raise payroll and Bell said he'd take a hometown discount -- but he's not going anywhere via trade this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
 

Pepper: MVP arguments heat up



By Matt Snyder


It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.

1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).

2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.

On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.

Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.

“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”

It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."

Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."

And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.

Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).

Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.

LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."

Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”

No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."

It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.

“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 7:48 pm
 

Bell: 'Not traded' -- yet

By C. Trent Rosecrans

San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell is still just that -- San Diego's closer.

While the Giants claimed Bell on trade waivers earlier in the day, Bell tweeted the latest news about his situation:


However, the teams have until 1 p.m. on Friday to work out a deal and Bell has neither a no-trade clause nor five and 10 rights allowing him to block a trade, so it's still possible.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Report: Giants claim Heath Bell on waivers

BellBy Evan Brunell

The Giants have claimed Heath Bell off of trade waivers from the Padres, ESPN's Buster Olney has learned, which gives the teams 48 hours to work out a trade.

Trade waivers are not the same as the "traditional" waivers that everyone is accustomed to. After July 31, teams are allowed to place players on special waivers that allow the player to be traded at any point after August 1 provided he clears waivers. Upon a claim by another team, which runs in reverse order of teams in the same league before flipping over to the other league, the team (in this instance, the Padres) that placed the player (Bell) on waivers can revoke waivers and keep Bell on the team. However, if the player is placed on trade waivers a second time, the waives become irrevocable, and the player would head to a claiming team in that instance.

This is Bell's first time on trade waivers this season, so the Padres can revoke the waiver claim, so Bell is not a Giant as we speak. He only could be.

The Padres have three choices here -- let Bell go on waivers, revoke him or trade him.

Letting Bell simply go to San Francisco with no compensation will not happen. Bell is an unabashed fan of being with the Padres and has gone so far as saying he would accept an offer of arbitration for one year to stay in town. As a free agent, Bell could get many more years and dollars from another team, but wants to be a Padre. That doesn't necessarily mean Bell will return to town, but if he doesn't, the Padres will be able to get compensation picks as the closer will qualify as a Type A free agent.

Players switching teams on straight waiver claims isn't unheard of -- witness the White Sox acquiring Alex Rios a couple seasons ago through this method -- but it takes a perfect storm of a bloated contract and unneeded performance to make it happen.

Allowing Bell, one of the best closers in the game, to go on waivers -- especially to a division rival who is fighting for the division lead and just saw Brian Wilson go down with injury -- is not going to happen. For San Francisco to get Bell, it will have to trade for the closer. This is the biggest hurdle to a deal, as the Padres will want to extract as much value from Bell as they can, and the first-round pick along with another pick in between the first two rounds is significant value. The possibility of Bell accepting arbitration with San Diego isn't compelling enough to drop the price for Bell in a trade.

If the sides can't agree on a trade within 48 hours, Bell would be pulled back off waivers and would remain with the Padres at least through the end of this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Thome hits waivers, could be traded

By Matt Snyder

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome -- who recently joined an elite group of sluggers by hitting his 600th career home run -- has been placed on waivers (Ken Rosenthal via Twitter). So it's possible he could be traded within the next week.

Yes, there was a trade deadline back on July 31, but it's a non-waiver deadline. In the month of August, players who clear waivers can be traded. Also, players could be claimed via the waivers process and then traded to the team that claimed them.

Rosenthal reports that the Phillies want Thome, but seeing as how they have the best record in baseball -- and, thus, the last shot at him in the waivers process -- it's very doubtful he makes it to them. What about a return to Cleveland for Thome? With Travis Hafner going on the disabled list Monday, it's possible the Tribe ends up with an opening at DH. Going back to Cleveland, where Thome spent the first 12 years of his career, would be a nice story and give the Indians an obvious offensive upgrade. Thome has an .868 OPS with 12 home runs this season in just 230 plate appearances.

The Yankees could also be interested in an upgrade at DH, while the Giants and Braves would certainly benefit from some punch off the bench.

Rosenthal also reports Carlos Pena, Jason Kubel and Heath Bell hit waivers Monday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:00 pm
 

Padres to increase payroll in 2012

Jeff MooradBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Padres will increase their payroll in 2012, if only modestly, and hope to find a "resting place" over the next five seasons around $70 million, Padres CEO Jeff Moorad told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Moorad, whose team will have a final payroll around $45 million this season, said next year's payroll "will start with a five."

The Padres have already committed $10.75 million to shortstop Jason Bartlett and second baseman Orlando Hudson, a raise of nearly $3 million, combined. The team also has a $5 million option on pitcher Aaron Harang, who made $3.5 million this season. They also owe Brad Hawpe a $1 million buyout and could have as many as 10 arbitration-eligible players.

And then there's Heath Bell, who is a free agent after the season and although he's expressed a desire to remain in San Diego and entertain a "hometown discount," he'd still likely be in line for a raise from the $7.5 million he made this season. 

With all of that in consideration, it's unlikely the Padres will be a big player in free agency this winter. That's hardly unexpected, though.

"The team is going to be homegrown," Moorad said. "I'm consistent. We're not going to be shifting our priorities from year-to-year. The plan won't change."

The team's local TV contract expires after the season and Moorad hinted that the team has another broadcast deal in place that would help .

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com