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Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 11:47 am
 

Buchholz done for year with back issue

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz has a stress fracture in his lower back, a source informed Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.

The fracture is expected to knock the right-hander out for the rest of the season, although it is possible that Buchholz can return for the postseason. He is expected to see Dr. Thomas Watkins, a back specialist, in Los Angeles on Monday to confirm the diagnosis.

Already out six weeks, the loss is a big blow to Boston. Buchholz landed on the map last season by posting a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, finishing sixth in Cy Young Award voting. This year, Buchholz had a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 60 and walking 31 over 82 2/3 innings.

Buchholz has been sidelined for six weeks after originally believing he would only be on the 15-day disabled list for the minimum allotted time. He threw a bullpen session last Monday, deemed himself at 80 percent capacity and expected to throw another session Wednesday before starting a rehab assignment. That never happened, as Boston continued to be extremely cautious of Buchholz's injury and sent him for a MRI the day after the bullpen session, which revealed the fracture. Previously, it was thought Buchholz simply had inflammation.

These injuries are rare in pitchers, as McAdam says, but points out that David Wright recently returned from a two-month absence due to a stress fracture. Buchholz has already been out six weeks, so he has a quicker timetable for return. However, even if he's able to get back pitching by mid-September, all the minor-league affiliates will be done and the Red Sox probably won't be too keen on shoving him into the fire in the bigs. It's possible that Buchholz could complete the year out of the bullpen, although that's completely speculation at this early juncture.

The Red Sox acquired pitcher Erik Bedard on Sunday at the last second before the trade deadline expired, shipping three prospects to the Dodgers for fellow prospect Trayvon Robinson, then flipped Robinson plus an additional prospect for Bedard, who is injury-prone but can flat-out pitch if he takes the mound. Epstein admitted that Buchholz's injury factored into the acquisition of Bedard.

The news of Buchholz's injury coming out Monday is unsurprising, as it is the day after the trade deadline. Boston certainly didn't want to tip its hand as to the severity of Buchholz's injury, as it would have caused other teams to drive up the price in trade discussions, knowing the Red Sox would be desperate. Right now, the rotation appears to be fronted by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, with John Lackey and Erik Bedard rounding out the top four, which will be the rotation Boston goes to battle with in October if Buchholz cannot return. One of Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller, who were serving as the Nos. 4 and 5 starters prior to the Bedard acquisition, will stay in the rotation while the other is expected to head to the bullpen. Bet on Miller, who has been far more inconsistent as a starter and can serve as the second left-hander and long reliever.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Players of the Month: Pedroia, Sabathia victors

Sabathia

By Evan Brunell


Now that the trade deadline has passed, July is in the books. That means it's time to take a look at the best hitter and pitcher of the month as voted by CBSSports.com experts. The voting wasn't close, with the batter of the month in Dustin Pedroia and pitcher of the month in CC Sabathia walking away with five of six possible votes each.

July's Best
Expert Batter Pitcher
Knobler Pedroia Sabathia
Miller Pedroia Sabathia
Brunell Pedroia Sabathia
Rosecrans Freeman Sabathia
Snyder Pedroia Holland
Fantasy Pedroia Sabathia

Pedroia was a one-man wrecking crew in July, helping push Boston to a 20-win July, the most in Red Sox franchise history. Pedroia racked up statistics that would make your eyes pop. On the year, he's walking at a rate that's enabled him to post a .406 OBP and is enjoying the best power season of his career outside of last year, which was cut short due to injury. In fact, Pedroia got 2011 off to such a slow start, he was concerned that his foot was the culprit. After getting it checked out and his fears alleviated, Pedroia went off.

In the same division, but roughly 202 miles south, CC Sabathia was busy shutting down opponents left and right as the Yankees continue to hang tough in the AL East. Whether they can continue to do that or not without making a trade-deadline deal remains to be seen. If Sabathia can keep up his dominance that has vaulted him into being a concrete contender for the AL Cy Young, the Yankees may not have needed any upgrades. Sabathia is setting himself up for a nice payday after the year, when he can opt out of his contract. The Yankees will gladly tack on a couple of years the way Sabathia has been going.

Past players of the month: April | May | June

Batter of the Month
Danny Knobler Scott Miller
PedroiaDustin Pedroia, Red Sox
The Red Sox had the best July in their history, at 20-7. I'm not sure Pedroia had the best July in Red Sox history, but he had to be close, with a .411 batting average, and eight home runs, which tied him for second in the majors. And just to make sure he won, he had the go-ahead hit in Boston's win over the White Sox on July 31.
PedroiaDustin Pedroia, Red Sox
I'm a sucker for hitting streaks. Others maybe had gaudier numbers this month, but for Pedroia to bang out that 25-gamer while helping to keep Boston atop the AL East, that's impressive. Especially against great pitching and in the pressure of the AL East.
Evan Brunell C. Trent Rosecrans
PedroiaDustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Pedroia made Ted Williams proud with a .411 batting average to go along with a .723 slugging percentage that even Jose Bautista would be jealous of. After starting the season poorly and expressing concern that a screw in his surgically-repaired right foot was affecting him, Pedroia has been scorching hot. Now, he's making a case to be considered for the AL MVP with a 6.6 Wins Above Replacement (which counts fielding) mark on the season -- Bautista is the only hitter ahead with a 6.8 figure.
FreemanFreddie Freeman, Braves
You could pick one of three Red Sox players who had a fantastic month -- Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez were all worthy, but they almost cancel each other out. Instead of being one of many on a team having a great July, the Braves rookie stepped it up when his teammates were falling by the wayside. This month alone, the Braves put Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth on the DL as Freeman slugged his way to a .362/.433/.600 month. He added six homers and 18 RBI, leading the Braves to a 16-10 record in July.
Matt Snyder Fantasy -- Al Melchior
PedroiaDustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Pedroia got at least one hit in every game but one during the month and 14 times he recorded a multi-hit game. His average jumped almost 40 points, his OPS over 100 and he displayed power and speed -- with eight home runs, 22 RBI and six steals. The guy who was hitting .240 with a .683 OPS at the end of May is a distant memory and Pedroia's climbing back into MVP territory.
PedroiaDustin Pedroia, Red Sox
July was a good month for Fantasy second basemen, with Ben Zobrist, Dan Uggla and Michael Cuddyer and others upping their production, but none was more productive than Pedroia. In fact, Pedroia had the highest value of any player, regardless of position, in both Rotisserie and Head-to-Head formats for the month. With a .411 batting average, in addition to 17 extra-base hits and five stolen bases, there may not have been a more balanced scoring threat in Fantasy than the Laser Show.
Pitcher of the Month
Knobler Miller
SabathiaCC Sabathia, Yankees
You can argue that the Yankees should have traded for a starting pitcher at the deadline. You can't argue that they needed an ace, because Sabathia proved once again that they already have one. He also proved that he deserves a spot in the debate over who is the best pitcher in the game, with a 4-1 record, a 0.92 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 39 innings.
SabathiaCC Sabathia, Yankees
Guy narrowly misses a no-hitter wearing a Yankees uniform, how can you go wrong? Sabathia is rockin' right now: A 0.92 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP in five starts. One game to win as we speak, he's my guy (if, ahem, Verlander isn't available).
Brunell Rosecrans
SabathiaCC Sabathia, Yankees
Sabathia was a beast to reckon with in July, racking up a 4-1 record while posting a miniscule 0.92 ERA, supported by a 2.15 xFIP that ties him for the best mark in baseball in July, along with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Facing the Indians, Rays, Blue Jays and Mariners isn't a creampuff schedule, and he was able to minimize home runs and strand baserunners at a high rate, as well as go deep into games with his 39 innings pitched near the top of the leaderboards.
SabathiaCC Sabathia, Yankees
It's really hard to go anywhere else (perhaps Clayton Kershaw or Daniel Bard), but among those with 20 innings pitched this month, none had a lower ERA (0.92) or more strikeouts (50), and Sabathia also had the second-lowest WHIP (0.79). Here's how good he was -- of his five starts this month, in his worst outing, he went eight innings, allowed five hits and two runs, and struck out eight in a loss to the Rays on July 21.
Snyder Fantasy -- Melchior
HollandDerek Holland, Rangers
I was about to pick CC Sabathia, but note Holland's three shutouts during the month of July, which overwhelmed me. No one had more than one shutout in either April or May. Cliff Lee had three shutouts last month, but he was my pick then and Holland's my pick now. Only Lee and Holland have more than three shutouts this season and only two others -- James Shields and Jason Vargas -- have had three all season. Holland did that in his past five starts.
SabathiaCC Sabathia, Yankees
Sabathia is following in his perennial pattern of heating up in the second half, as he had a scorching-hot July. He led all qualifying starters with a 0.92 ERA and 0.79 WHIP for the month, and not coincidentally, only Greinke had a higher strikeout per nine innings rate. Sabathia also benefited from some apparent good luck, as opponents hit only .218 on balls in play against him (despite mediocre line drive and popup rates), but even so, he helped himself enough to outproduce Kershaw and Verlander.

Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.


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Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:44 am
 

Pepper: Pelfrey finds sinker; Buchholz finished

Pelfrey

By Evan Brunell

SINKING: Mike Pelfrey thinks he has his sinker back and is hoping to reclaims some optimism during a season where Pelfrey crumbled under the weight of being considered an ace, regressing from a 3.66 ERA in 204 innings last night to a 4.55 mark to date.

"Mike takes such pride in what he does," pitching coach Warthen told the New York Daily News. "I see a guy who was forcing his pitches instead of throwing them."

Pelfrey, for his part, believes that mechanics were an issue. The right-hander's bread and butter has been his sinker, but that lost effectiveness when he altered his arm slot to make his secondary pitches more effective. While Pelfrey isn't scrapping his arm slot, he did say he has to make sure to get his arm out in front of his body more when he throws the sinker. Perhaps then, Pelfrey thinks, he can start racking up the numbers he produced last season even though his peripherals in both 2010 and 2011 are rather similar.

"... I've never seen anybody that can command a baseball as well as he can," Warthen added. "So when he goes out and walks three, four, five guys, I'm just baffled. It's beyond my belief that that can happen with a guy who can do the things he can with the baseball."

Pelfrey will face the Marlins on Monday night and has long struggled against Florida with a career 1-7 record and 5.25 ERA in 15 starts. He'll look to use his sinker, which pushed him to a complete-game victory last time out, to walk away with a win. (New York Daily News)

TOP GMS
: You usually see a winners or losers list come out of the trade deadline, but what about a list of best GMs for those who focused on the short-term and then long-term? Unsurprisingly, contending teams dominate the first list, rebuilding the latter. (ESPN's Jim Bowden)

BAD BACK
: Clay Buchholz appears to have a stress fracture in his back, which will shut him down for the rest of the season and most likely the postseason as well. David Wright recently missed two months with a stress fracture. (CSNNE.com)

BELL EXTENSION: Now that Heath Bell is staying in San Diego, the talk can turn toward the Padres potentially signing him to a contract extension. Bell, for his part, continues to stand by his proclamation that he will accept a three-year deal with a hometown discount to stay with the Pads. (North County Times)

Dodgers DEAL: The Dodgers are considered one of the biggest losers of the trade deadline, dealing a blue-chip prospect for three organizational players. Steve Dilbeck pens a defense, saying the blue-chipper in Trayvon Robinson clearly didn't fit in Los Angeles' plans, plus they finally got the prospect catcher they coveted in Tim Federowicz. GM Ned Coletti says Federowicz could make the roster next spring training. (Los Angeles Times)

Cubs DON'T DEAL: Carlos Pena, who is expected to resign with the Cubs should Chicago miss out on Prince Fielder in free agency, was thrilled the Cubs stood pat at the trade deadline.

"I'd rather have someone really working toward our common goal, instead of (trading players) just for show," Pena said. "Our GM is not like that. He's not trying to 'look' like he's working. He's working. It's totally different than [thinking] 'I can fool the world by switching a couple pieces here,' and it really looks like he's making moves, making changes. When in reality it's just all for show.

"He's not like that. He's doing something that's going to mean something at the end of it all, something substantial, and we're going to reap the benefits. I'd rather have that. We put all our heads together, all our energy together, and personally, I'm excited about the possibility of me being part of that team. Even with our record at this point, with our difficulties, I can say the same thing. I'm excited about what's coming."

Sorry, Carlos. Hendry still messed up. (Chicago Tribune)

THAT'S NICE: That's the reaction of columnist Dejan Kovacevic on the Pirates' haul at the trade deadline, bringing in Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. Unfortunately, they may be arriving aboard a sinking ship as Pittsburgh's pitching regresses. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

BEHIND THE SCENES
: Here's a quick look behind the scenes of the Francisco Rodriguez trade that sent the Mets closer to Milwaukee. K-Rod requested that his vesting option for 2012 be waived so the Mets were free to make baseball decisions about Rodriguez's usage. Alderson used that information to convince other teams the closer would void the option, which is exactly what happened once the righty moved to Milwaukee. (New York Times)

LOOKING FORWARD: Manager Eric Wedge won't let the Mariners get complacent the rest of the way, even if the trades made at the deadline deleted two strong pitchers from the staff and clearly set Seattle back this season. "What we're not going to do is spin our wheels," Wedge said. (MLB.com)

TOP DH: One of the best DHs in baseball history is Frank Thomas, who wasn't afraid to proclaim David Ortiz an all-time great at the position. Also, Thomas is a believer that DH gets a bum rap when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and perception of the position. "You ask any DH in the league how tough it is to sit there and pinch hit four times a day and put up monster numbers,” he said. (Boston Herald)

OPTION VESTS: Bobby Abreu's option for 2011 vested with his 433rd plate appearance of the season, reaching the milestone in the ninth inning Sunday against the Tigers. Abreu is now tied to Los Angeles for one more season at $9 million.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 11:19 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Cueto takes MLB lead in ERA

Cueto

By Evan Brunell


UpJohnny Cueto, Reds: Cueto spun a gem on Sunday, finally qualifying for MLB leaderboards. Now that he's qualified, he boasts baseball's lowest ERA at at a scant 1.74, going the distance for a complete-game shutout, allowing three hits and one walk, while striking out six. People have been waiting for a breakout for Cueto for years, and while he's putting together the best season of his career, he's also been inordinately lucky, limiting home runs and allowing just 23 percent of batted balls to fall in for hits, compared to the league average of 29 percent. Not that his fantasy owners (me) are complaining.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies: Ibanez is an incredibly streaky hitter, being a valued member of the Philadelphia lineup in both May and July, but an albatross in the other two months. That doesn't bode well for August, does it? Anyways, Ibanez blasted two home runs against the Pirates, the latter blow tying the game in the bottom eighth before Philly walked off in the 10th. His four RBI were 2/3s of Philadelphia's total, and boosted his overall line to .247/.293/.434 which tells you how anemic he was in April and June.

Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks: Saunders is on fire, throwing 7 2/3 innings of a victory to even his record up at 8-8. He allowed just two runs, walking none and striking out three. This is part of a larger pattern for Saunders, who was roundly criticized upon his trade to Arizona last season for Dan Haren. Saunders has found the senior circuit to his liking, posting a 3.56 ERA despite pitching in a hitter's park and has pitched 16 2/3 innings of a possible 18 in his last two starts. In July, Saunders didn't allow more than three earned runs in his six starts, a big reason why Arizona has stayed in playoff contention.

Honorable mention: Justin Verlander came oh-so-close to his second no-hitter of the season, not his first flirtation with that honor. Instead, he ended up holding on for the win in what turned into a crazy game.



DownTommy Hanson, Braves: Hanson didn't exactly get hit hard, but he give up three runs in six innings. Good enough for a quality start, but despite striking out seven, he also walked three. The start means Hanson has given up 18 runs in his last 23 1/3 innings, comprised of four starts. For comparison, prior to July, the most runs Hanson had ever given up in one month alone, never mind four starts, was 10, accomplished twice in April and May before dropping to six earned in June over four starts. So that should illustrate both how good Hanson has been and the rough stretch he's entered, which has spiked his ERA to 3.13.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Westbrook took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but coughed up a walk to Koyie Hill -- the No. 8 hitter -- with one out in the sixth. The wheels came off after that, and when it was all said and done, Westbrook had given up three hits, three walks and struck out three in six innings, allowing four earned runs. Every single one of those hits, walks and runs came in the sixth. That's one way to blow up a no-no.

Trade deadline losers: The Dodgers, Orioles and Cubs were colossal losers at the trade deadline. The Dodgers traded away a potential high-impact bat for three organizational guys. The Orioles' entire season is officially a loss, and the Cubs incomprehensibly stood pat. Read more here, as well as who won the trade deadline.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:18 pm
 

A's owner speaks out against McCourt

WolffBy Evan Brunell

The A's owner, Lew Wolff, is the first baseball owner to come out against Frank McCourt in his never-ending battle to keep control of the Dodgers.

"My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale," Wolff said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable."

Wolff is especially displeased with McCourt's attempted smearing of Selig publicly and in court. McCourt and his lawyers challenged Selig's authority in court and made the ludicrous argument that even if McCourt took out money from the Dodgers for personal use, it was far greater than the amount Selig has taken out of MLB. The commissioner pulls in an average annual salary of $18.35 million, set by major-league owners.

"Even taking the commissioner's false claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers at face value," McCourt's attorneys wrote ina  filing disputing how much money McCourt has taken out of the Los Angeles club. "It is difficult to understand how the commissioner can complain about this when he pays himself a salary of approximately $20 million a year — meaning that he has taken out between $120 million and $140 million from baseball revenues during the same period that he complains about $100 million being taken out by the owner of a team."

That didn't sit too well with Wolff.

"For anyone to seek to diminish Bud's accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous," the A's owner said. Wolff has been a part of the A's since 2005 and is trying to get Oakland a new ballpark but has met resistance and has been waiting over two years for Selig to issue a ruling on the decision. If anyone might have cause to be frustrated with Selig and perhaps side with McCourt, it would be Wolff. But:

"I can't think of one owner that is not supportive of the actions taken by MLB," Wolff said.

He added that he is not speaking out in an attempt to get on Selig's good side for the ballpark ruling and proposed move to San Jose. While it's unsurprising to know that all the other owners are arrayed against McCourt, it's surprising to see Wolff speak out, as Selig is attempting to keep the distraction McCourt has wrought to a minimum.

Currently, McCourt is attempting to keep the Dodgers despite no available funds after he and his ex-wife used the Dodgers as a personal piggy bank. After an embarrassing and expensive divorce, McCourt has been limping along until he was forced to file for bankruptcy in order to hang onto the Dodgers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:05 am
 

Trade deadline winners and losers

Jimenez

By Evan Brunell


Now that the trade deadline is over and the dust has settled, who are the winners and losers of the trade deadline?

There were plenty of big names dealt over the past week, including Colby Rasmus, Ubaldo Jimenez and Hunter Pence. Other players also moved that should impact teams for the next several years, and there were also plenty of minor deals to shore up holes. Over the coming months and years, the deals consummated today will be analyzed to death. We'll kick things off the same day with this uncompromising, unscathing look at your trade deadline winners and losers.

WINNERS

1. ACE IN THE HOLE

IndiansIn today's trade deadline chat, a commenter who appeared to be an Indians fan was rather upset with the deal to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies, pointing to Jimenez's decreased production and velocity as to why the deal was a failure from the start. While Jimenez's fastball velocity drop is concerning (96.1 mph average last year, 93.4 mph this season), his peripherals line up to what he produced last season. Jimenez may not be an Ace in the Roy Halladay mold, but at the very least, he's an excellent No. 2 who would serve as an ace on oh, 20 teams?

And unlike most top pitchers traded, Jimenez is under team control through 2013 and is just 27. He gives the fanbase a jolt of optimism as Cleveland attempts to win the division, and then most importantly, gives the Indians the premium pitcher necessary to compete the next two years, when Cleveland's core solidifies around a young, talented infield and an upcoming rotation. All they gave up were four minor-league players (three of them pitchers), none of which are guaranteed to turn into anything resembling Jimenez. This deal could still yet work out for Colorado, but it's already working out for Cleveland.

And of course, the Indians also added outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who will help Cleveland withstand the losses of Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore, then become part of a nice stable of outfielders when these players return. They also were hoping to get outfielder Ryan Ludwick, but lost him to the Pirates. That may have been for the best anyways, as Cleveland was reportedly balking at San Diego's price for who wouldn't have significantly upgraded the outfield corps.

2. BOURN TO WIN

BravesAtlanta made out like bandits in the deal for Michael Bourn, acquiring a leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position... and not surrendering any top prospects. The Braves gave up a no-hit center fielder in Jordan Schafer plus three minor-league pitchers in Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. There are some intriguing aspects to these pitchers, but none are can't miss and only Oberholtzer appeared on Baseball America's top 10 Braves prospects list prior to the season. That hardly seems like fair value for Bourn.

The Braves, meanwhile, gain a 28-year-old who is the sixth-best center fielder in 2011, according to Fangraphs' Wins Above Replacement metric. With dazzling defense, scorching legs and a capable bat. Hitting .303/.363/.403, Bourn has added 39 stolen bases into the conversation to become a dynamic leadoff hitter that will cause problems right off the bat to start the game. Atlanta controls his rights through 2012 as well, so he's not a short-term rental. Again, remember: they didn't give up any of their top prospects for someone who, at least this season, has performed as a game-changer.

3. BULLPEN JACKPOT

RangersTexas gave up a pretty penny, there can be no doubt on that. The Rangers didn't make this list because they hoodwinked another team. Baltimore has to be pleased with the Chris Davis - Tommy Hunter haul for Koji Uehara, and the two minor-league pitchers sent to San Diego for Mike Adams will be heard from again. But Texas belongs on this list simply because of how impressively they upgraded their bullpen in the blink of an eye.

No longer are the Rangers handicapped by a shaky bullpen with a volatile closer. While the closer remains, the bridge to Neftali Feliz just got a lot more stable, with Adams and Uehara able to get the game from the starter to Feliz without breaking a sweat. Even better, the presence of Adams allows the Rangers to move Feliz out of the closer's role in October if need be, as well as grease the skids for a conversion to starting pitcher next season with Adams in the fold to close.

LOSERS

1. QUANTITY OVER QUALITY

DodgersIn the morning, Los Angeles' deal sending Rafael Furcal -- who was injured most of the year and not producing when he was in the lineup -- to St. Louis was finalized. They received a 24-year-old outfielder crushing Double-A but without much promise, and $1.4 million in saved money. Whatever, right? The Dodgers aren't listed here because of that deal.

There was only one trade made the entire week in which a team was instantly ridiculed for its move. The Cardinals were headed for the loser's seat before the waning minutes of the deadline, but Los Angeles took it away with a staggering display of incompetence. To help Boston facilitate acquiring Erik Bedard, the Dodgers agreed to trade away Trayvon Robinson, one of the few bright spots in the high minors that could actually hit. Robinson, along with Jerry Sands, could have made a pretty decent first base-left field combo over the next few years. Instead, Robinson will take his .293/.375/.563 line with 26 home runs in Triple-A to Seattle while the Dodgers come away with three organizational pieces.

And really, that's all they are. You've got catcher Tim Federowicz, who has a strong defensive reputation but whose hitting will be challenged enough that he best profiles as a long-term backup catcher. Those aren't tough to find. Add in starter Stephen Fife, who has pitched to Federowicz all season for Double-A Portland, who profiles as a back of the rotation starter or solid middle reliever. Lastly, Juan Rodriguez, a reliever who throws smoke but is 22 years old and in Class A. Splendid. Oh, and all three will be Rule 5 eligible after the year, meaning they need to be added to the 40-man roster or risk being lost in the draft -- and all three would be strong candidates to be taken. The Dodgers, in one fell swoop, traded away one of their few high-ceiling prospects for three organizational players who will all require 40-man spots, which are incredibly valuable.

2. STANDING PAT

CubsYou will hear much more on Monday about the Cubs' massive failure at the trade deadline thanks to GM Jim Hendry, who really should be fired on the spot. But while we're here, we might as well recap the Cubs' situation. That situation is a 42-65 record, which is just a few losses away from a 100-loss pace. The Cubs are loaded with unseemly contracts, ranging from the obscene (Alfonso Soriano) to the bad (Carlos Zambrano) to the unnecessary (John Grabow).

And yet, not only was Hendry content not to move any pieces but he was fine encouraging Aramis Ramirez to stay in town. He was fine ruling out the trading of a backup platoon infielder in Jeff Baker. (Read that last sentence again.) The only player Hendry parted with was Fukudome, and he never had fans in the front office and was a lock to leave after the season, anyways.

Instead of trying to set the Cubs up for future success, Hendry seemed paralyzed by which direction to go and while choosing to become buyers would have been ludicrous, it would have been a more palatable direction than just staying pat. Of course, the Cubs aren't flush with a deep farm system, especially after trading for Matt Garza. So Hendry's stuck pretending to be a contender for what, at least from this side of things, seems to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to save his job by pretending his team is close to contention and does not need a fire sale -- a fire sale that would have been entirely Hendry's fault.

3. MASTER PLAN FOILED

OriolesLet's think back to before the season started. Baltimore was coming off a 66-96 season, but optimism abounded thanks to Buck Showalter's 34-23 record to cap off the year. Brian Matusz was emerging into a top young pitcher and Zach Britton wasn't too far behind. The offense needed some help, but was young enough and projectable enough to have some optimism moving forward. In an attempt to make baseball relevant again in Baltimore and give the players some leadership, as well as something to strive for, the O's went veteran heavy in their free-agent signings.

Understandable, even if Baltimore knew it wasn't going to make any type of postseason run. It could still jack up energy in the city, then deal these players at the trade deadline for solid prospects or young players that might help the O's take the next step forward. Alas, Justin Duchscherer has been hurt all season. Vladimir Guerrero has taken his $8 million and crumbled before our very eyes, then hit the disabled list and destroyed his trade value. Only Derrek Lee's recent hot streak saved his trade value, and even he was only able to fetch a 23-year-old currently doing pretty decent ... in high-Class A. Hardly the return to make Baltimore relevant. The Orioles took a risk in the offseason, and even if you don't blame them for Lee and Guerrero's failures at the plate, they are losers because they came away from these moves with a net negative. All these millions of dollars and playing time allocations wasted, rather than giving Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold an entire year to establish themselves.

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




Posted on: July 31, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Rays GM undergoes emergency appendectomy

By Evan Brunell

Rays general manager Andrew Friedman didn't make any trades on Sunday, instead choosing to retain B.J. Upton -- at least for the rest of the season.

It was a quiet day for someone who was expected to be active, and TBO.com's Roger Mooney reports that Friedman underwent an emergency appendectomy on Saturday afternoon. He was able to conduct his usual business from the hospital, so that did not affect any trades.

“We had numerous conversations with many different organizations leading up to the deadline, but none came to fruition. We will continue to be opportunistic in our approach after the deadline as before it,” Friedman said in a statement released by the team.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Jeter day to day with bruised finger

Derek JeterBy C. Trent Rosecrans and Evan Brunell

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fourth inning of the team's game against Baltimore, an inning after he was hit in the right hand by a pitch from Orioles starter Jake Arrieta.

X-rays were negative, the team announced and he is day to day with a bruised middle finger.


"I'm not expecting it to be a week," manager Joe Girardi said, according to the Associated Press. "Could it be a day, or two? I think it could be."

Jeter was examined by Girardi and the team's trainer and stayed in the game for the top of the fourth, but was then lifted for pinch hitter Francisco Cervelli when his spot came up in the fourth.

Cervelli stayed in the game at second base, while Eduardo Nunez replaced Jeter at shortstop. New York eventually won the game, 4-2.

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