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Tag:Andrew McCutchen
Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pepper: Silva released, Cubs blunder ... or not

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs just issued a press release that Carlos Silva has been, uh, released. Good riddance. Now, about how it all went down ...

I like Big League Stew and David Brown, so I hope we don't get into a whole thing here, but I have to say I don't understand this column . Brown uses a lot of words to call out the Cubs for having a pitching coach notify Carlos Silva he wouldn't make the team instead of general manager Jim Hendry doing so. I would generally agree with that sentiment, but then I see this quote from the Chicago Tribune :

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

A little farther down in the same article, Silva mentions that the new pitching coach, Mark Riggins, was trying to talk him up and said, "Man, you've been throwing the ball good, you can pitch, all of that, blah, blah, blah. If you go out there to Triple-A and throw some games to continue building, to continue getting better ... "

If that looks like a weird quote, it's because it was Carlos Silva discussing the situation. It's an emotional Silva, too, who already isn't going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter in terms of eloquence, professionalism or, really, anything. From that, we're to gather that was how he found out he wasn't making the team. Sorry, I'm not ready to make that leap. And if I did believe every word Silva said -- I'm trying not to laugh -- the mistake would appear to be Riggins' for letting it slip. That above quote doesn't sound like Hendry sent Riggins in to break the news.

I don't want to come off like a Hendry apologist, because he's proven himself not a very good GM. When the Ricketts family pays Kosuke Fukudome eight figures this year or Alfonso Soriano $19 million in 2014 they might agree. I'm just saying this particular call-out was a big reach. Even if Silva was telling the truth, it was a minor slip-up -- in which a rookie coach accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It's much less a big deal than giving Milton Bradley a three-year contract -- which is the whole reason Silva's with the club anyway. In fact, the funny part of this whole thing is that Silva represents an actual good move by Hendry. He saved money in trading Bradley for Silva. Granted, it was his fault he had to deal Bradley, but he patched it up as best he could. That's about all you can ask from a middling-at-best GM.

MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Rangers are expected to make a decision on the fifth starter Sunday. Remember, they already did, but Tommy Hunter injured himself the day the announcement was made. What about Alexi Ogando? ESPN Dallas makes a case.

FIVE GUYS: MLB.com looks at five players who need to "get it together" this season. I actually think all five will.

DEBUT ... D'OH: Chris Dickerson was making a good impression on his new team Saturday. He joined the Yankees after a trade and promptely went 3-3 with a double. His encore was leaving the game with cramps. (MLB.com )

SMACKDOWN:
Earlier this week, crotchety curmudgeon Murray Chass wrote one of the more ridiculous things anyone has ever written. He used a second-hand story of a third-hand account of an event taken out of context to say Stan Musial was racist. The hilarious part is Chass likes to talk about how he's a respectable journalist and refuses to acknowledge that he's a blogger. Anyway, I'm not going to get into bashing him any further, because the great Joe Posnanski took him down better than I could ever hope to do. And you won't find a link to Chass' blog (yep, I said it, Murray) here or there. I refuse to give hits to that clown.

PATTERSON OK: Corey Patterson took a high-90s fastball to the head Friday. Fortunately it hit his helmet, but that's still an awfully big impact. The good news is that he appears to be just fine. "I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers." (MLB.com )

SILENT NIGHT: The A's may not have a radio broadcast on their flagship station this season. (Mercury News )

HOME SWEET HOME: Ryan Zimmerman wants to be with the Washington Nationals for a long time. It's just a matter of whether or not the Nats will pony up the kind of dough he'd command on the open market. (Washington Post ) The smart money is on them doing so. He's the centerpiece of the team and at 26, he's hardly too old to stay for a while. Plus, unless you've been listening to me scream about it for the past few weeks, you might not realize the Nationals have plenty of money.

Pirates LINEUP SET:
Andrew McCutchen has hit leadoff for 190 games in his early career. He's batted second 17 games and third 53. This season, he's going to man the three-hole for the Pirates, following Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

THE GRITTY GRINDERS! A clash between sabermatricians and old-school baseball writers has long been the contention that players like David Eckstein are either a) severely underrated because they do things you can't measure with stats; or b) severely overrated because the numbers show they don't help a team much. Well, the New York Times tries to bridge that gap by figuring team records with and without certain players. According to the metric, Ruben Tejada was the Mets' most valuable player while Alex Rodriguez is largely irrelevant to the Yankees ("they seemed to get along just fine without [him]"). There are several other oddities, such as six Reds having better winning percentages than league MVP Joey Votto. I'd be much more inclined to jump aboard here if baseball wasn't a team sport with so many factors to take into account in each and every game. For example, if a pitcher coughs up 10 runs with Votto at first base and then someone else throws a shutout on his scheduled off-day, how in God's name does that mean the team is better off without him? There are seemingly infinite examples at hand like this.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 24, 2011 9:28 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 10:10 pm
 

Getting to know the Pirates

By Matt Snyder

MVP

There is some good, young talent on this club, but Andrew McCutchen is easily the most polished and best overall player at this junction. The speedy center fielder is only 24, but he already has 262 major-league games under his belt. Last season, he hit .286 with 35 doubles, five triples, 16 home runs, 56 RBI, 94 runs and 33 stolen bases. Most importantly, his walk rate rose and strikeout rate fell. If those trends continue, he's only going to get better and better on his way to superstardom. He's a great defender, too. Better hold onto this one with the jaws of life, Pirates.

PLAYER ORACLE - Honus Wagner to Pedro Alvarez

Honus Wagner played with Carson Bigbee on the 1917 Pittsburgh Pirates

Carson Bigbee played with Joe Cronin on the 1926 Pittsburgh Pirates

Joe Cronin played with Jim Wilson on the 1945 Boston Red Sox

Jim Wilson played with Brooks Robinson on the 1956 Baltimore Orioles

Brooks Robinson played with Eddie Murray on the 1977 Baltimore Orioles

Eddie Murray played with Chan Ho Park on the 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers

Chan Ho Park played with Pedro Alvarez on the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates

POP CULTURE

There are three really good ones here. First of all, the most famous baseball card in history. Honus Wagner's T206 baseball card was designed and released by the American Tobacco Company in 1909. It's estimated that between 60 and 200 of the cards were ever issued. Early last decade, one of the few known remaining cards was sold for over $2 million.

Next up, the "We are Family" 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. They won the World Series and Sister Sledge's hit song blared from the stadium's P.A. system.

Finally, in what is really just an excuse to embed one of the greatest parts in the history of movies, Roy Hobbs' final home run in "The Natural" came against Pittsburgh. Enjoy:



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


Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/14: Pie's day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.

2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.

3. Felix Pie, Orioles -- The outfielder had a hit in four at-bats Wednesday, but he's here because it was his day, Pi Day (3.14). Sure, it's a stretch, but it's just spring training.

3 DOWN

Andrew McCutchen

1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).

2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.

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

More MLB coverage
Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am
 

R.I.P. Pirates: 18 losing seasons and counting

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oh, Pirates. So sad. But hey, you've got one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball, maybe one day you'll have a real major league team.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Where to start?

Well, let's avoid the debacle that was the Akinori Iwamura trade, and go straight to the biggest problem.

The Pirates' starting rotation was Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Charlie Morton -- each lost at least 10 games. Now, I know we're smart enough here not to judge a pitcher based solely on his W-L record. But all but Ohlendorf had an ERA+ of 83 or lower. That ain't good.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

James McDonald Several young players showed glimpses of being productive big leaguers in the future. Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (pictured, lower right) join Andrew McCutchen as a lineup that can play.

How about the trade of Octavio Dotel and cash to the Dodgers for right-hander James McDonald (pictured, left)? McDonald, 25, started 11 games for the Pirates after the trade and went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA. McDonald has impressive stuff and is one of the few strikeout pitchers on the roster.

HELP ON THE WAY

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Pirates do have some good, young talent. Unfortunately, not much of it is ready for the big leagues.

One of the few that could help soon is Bryan Morris, a 23-year old right-hander who went 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA at Double-A Altoona.

There will certainly be players to watch in the team's minor league system, but it'll be in the lower levels in guys like Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia.

Neil Walker EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

It's the Pirates, the expectations don't change. There are none besides playing 81 home games.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Oh, how about this crazy idea. You know that money you get from other teams in revenue sharing? Why not spend it on players? Radical, right?

Now, who do you sign? Right now you go for bargain innings-eaters. Maybe someone like Kevin Millwood or Brad Penny. They're not great, but they can be had and could stick around a little longer.

It's not like Carl Crawford is going to sign in Pittsburgh, but that's not the type of player the Pirates need to target at this point, instead it's filler until the real talent comes along.

2011 PREDICTION

The Pirates will record their 19th consecutive losing season and finish at the bottom of perhaps the weakest division in baseball once again.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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



Posted on: August 2, 2010 5:54 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:04 pm
 

This week in free stuff: Aug. 2-9

A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:

Monday, Aug. 2
Ike Davis bobblehead Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Ike Davis bobblehead -- or bobblesomething. The Cyclones are celebrating Davis' three heads-over-heels caches over the dugout railing with an upside-down bobblehead, although I'm not sure what exactly bobbles.
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- duffel bag. The practical giveaways are the best -- who can't use another duffel bag?

Tuesday, Aug. 3
Ryan Howard gnome Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) Whitey Herzog bobblehead. If you missed the big league team giving away Whitey bobbleheads last week, here's another chance.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League) -- Ryan Howard garden gnome. It kind of looks more like a wizard version of Ryan Howard, but, you know, either way my wife would love this, not because she likes Ryan Howard but because she has a really weird things with gnomes. When she saw our local nine had a gnome giveaway this year, she circled that date on the calendar.

Wednesday, Aug. 4
Chicago Cubs -- beer koozie. What else could you want or need at Wrigley Field?
Los Angeles Dodgers -- beach towel
Portland Sea Dogs (Eastern League) -- Hanley Ramirez bobblehead. I always appreciate when minor league clubs honor players who played for them, even if they're no longer in the organization. Kudos Sea Dogs.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- Daniel Moskos & Tony Sanchez double bobblehead

Thursday, Aug. 5
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) -- Brian Schneider bobblehead
New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League) -- beach towel
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Irish Heritage Jersey
State College Spikes (New York-Penn league) -- kids Roberto Clemente Kids activity book. It's good to educate the kids.

Friday, Aug. 6
Baltimore Orioles -- Nick Markakis mini bobblehead
Detroit Tigers -- island-themed Tigers floppy hat. It's like a combo Magnum costume -- in floppy hat form. The pattern of a Hawaiian shirt and the Detroit Tigers' D
Pittsburgh Pirates --  Andrew McCutchen bobblehead
Buffalo Bisons (International League) -- toothbrush. This may be one of the lamer giveaways, I've got to admit.
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) -- David Robertson bobblehead
Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) Buster Olney bobblehead. When sportswriters get their own bobblehead, you may have run out of ideas. Olney grew up in the state.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League) -- recycled tote bag

Saturday, Aug. 7
Kenny Lofton Cleveland Indians -- Kenny Lofton "The Catch" bobblehead. This one is great, I love bobbleheads from specific events, hence my Endy Chavez bobblehead. This one is from Lofton's catch over the wall of a sure homer by Baltimore's B.J. Surhoff on Aug. 4, 1996.
Florida Marlins -- samba whistle. Better than a vuvuzela.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- Luis Gonzalez bobblehead. In an added bonus, 50 fans will get an autographed, bronze version.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Pacific Coast League) -- Goose Gossage figurine.
Round Rock Express (Pacific Coast League) -- souvenir desk batting helmets
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) -- lunchbox
Stockton Ports (California League) -- Grant Desme bobblehead
Kinston Indians (Carolina League) -- reusable grocery bag
South Bend Silver Hawks (Midwest League) -- reusable grocery bag
Princeton Rays (Appalachian League) -- Wade Davis bobblehead
Billings Mustakens (Pioneer League) -- Jason LaRue bobblehead. See what Jason LaRue looked like before his awesome mustache (hint: less awesome).

Sunday, August 8
Milwaukee Brewers -- Italian sausage racing sausage bobblehead. I've gotten the bratwurst and a previous italian sausage bobblehead off of eBay, and I can tell you it's great. Although my wife said she didn't think it looked like a sausage.
Chicago Cubs -- light switch cover. Really, a nice, simple giveaway. It's got pinstripes and if you're a Cubs fan and have a man room or something, it's pretty cool.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- batting helmet. The classics never die.
Harrisburg Senators (Eastern League) -- Stephen Strasburg bobblehead. How'd he get his own bobblehead? Oh yeah. He's good.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- MCU Park model.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 9:59 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Scioscia against All-Stars for every team


Jose Rosado Because I grew up a Royals fan everywhere but Missouri, I've always been a fan of the rule requiring each team to have at least one representative for the All-Star Game.

Whether I lived in Cuba, Virginia, Texas, Japan or Georgia -- I was always guaranteed to see someone in a Royals uniform (usually George Brett) on TV every year. Not that the Royals of my youth needed the courtesy All-Star, they'd usually earned more than one berth in the game, but still, I knew there'd always be at least one. Sometimes that was the only time all year I'd be able to see a Royal on TV.

Now, though, I could -- if I wanted to punish myself -- watch just about every pitch of the Royals' awful season. With my MLB.tv subscription, my PS3, iPad and iPhone, I can watch those beautiful powder blue tops no matter where I go. That technology -- not to mention the advent of MLB Network, cable and satellite -- may have made the reason for the rule to have every team represented obsolete.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he thinks the rule should no longer apply.

"I'm all in favor of having guidelines where you try and represent every team," Scioscia told reporters, including the Orange County Register . "To have a hard-line rule, I think there are exceptions where a team doesn't have anyone All-Star worthy."

Scioscia was the manager of the All-Star team in 2003, when Lance Carter of the Ryas made the team with a 4.05 ERA and six blown saves.

"It's really a misnomer to say the manager picks the All-Star team. It doesn't happen," Scioscia said. "That team, with the guidelines in place, is virtually picked before it ever gets to the [manager]."

The rule helps explain why Jose Rosado's obituary will list him as a two-time All-Star and Mark Redman has an appearance on his resume.

There are currently 13 teams with losing records, some have obvious choices (like, say, the Cubs' Marlon Byrd or the Indians' Shin-Soo Choo), while it's a little tougher to choose a worthy All-Star from a team like the 24-55 Orioles (Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott?) or the 32-49 Astros (Dan Haren and his 4.56 ERA?)

Not all bad teams are created equally. The 33-46 Mariners have three worthy All-Stars in Ichiro Suzuki (who will no doubt be voted into the starting lineup by fans), Cliff Lee (if he's still a Mariner in a week) and Felix Hernandez. Even the Royals, at 35-45, wouldn't be embarrassed by David DeJesus, Joakim Soria or even Zack Greinke, who is having a down year.

If the game is truly for the fans, why not let it represent all the fans, and not just the Yankees and Red Sox? Baseball's All-Star Game is a celebration of the game with its best players and some of its nearly-best player or best players on one team. In the end, after injuries and the new rule against pitchers who pitch on Sunday throwing again in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, is it really that terrible to have the 75th best player in the game "snubbed" for the 131st?

In the end, I think of the 11-year old me waiting for Kevin Seitzer to get in the game, even if that visual is as anachronistic as my father listening to the Kansas City A's on the radio. Maybe out there somewhere, there's a kid excited about watch Andrew McCutchen get in the game, even if it's not "fair".

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 8, 2010 8:30 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:36 am
 

Strasburg's sixth inning

Stephen Strasburg has struck out 11 of the first 21 batters he's faced in the big leagues, but his night may be over after 81 pitches.

If he's taken out, Strasburg may have done everything but get the win.

In the sixth, he struck out the first three batters of the Pirates' order -- Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Lastings Milledge. Strasburg didn't even throw a fastball to get Milledge, who struck out at a changeup in the dirst and was thrown out at first.

Strasburg is on a limit of 90 pitches.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com