Tag:Bryce Harper
Posted on: June 23, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Harper headed to Futures Game

Bryce HarperBy C. Trent Rosecrans

It's hardly a surprise, but Bryce Harper has been selected for next month's All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Major League Baseball released the entire Futures Game roster Thursday that, in addition to Harper, includes last year's No. 3 overall pick Manny Machado of the Orioles, Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, Rays lefty Matt Moore, Cleveland infielder Jason Kipnis and Angels outfielder Mike Trout. The entire roster is available here.

The game, played on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, features some of the top talent in the minor leagues. Harper is certainly that.

The No. 1 pick in last year's draft hit .330/.429/.586 with 14 home runs in 64 games in the first half of the season at low-Class A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Nationals' other Futures Game representative, right-hander Brad Peacock was a 41st-round pick in the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old is 8-2 with a 2.46 ERA in 11 starts and 13 total games for Double-A Harrisburg.

Each team is represented in the game, which features 25-man rosters split among a team made of players from the United States and then a World team. The latter features players from 12 different countries and territories outside the 50 states.

Also, make sure you get ready, because the Eye On Baseball team will be on-site at Chase Field for the Futures Game and for the rest of the All-Star Festivities from July 10-12.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 8:02 pm
 

Harper to be limited in Class A All-Star Game

By Evan Brunell

HarperBryce Harper is still suffering from the effects of a sore left thumb and will be limited in the South Atlantic All-Star Game on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.

Harper is slated to bat third and play right field, but North team manager Brian Daubach -- who also manages Harper's Hagerstown Suns -- said he would only get a few innings in the game, which would suggest  just one at-bat. The thumb injury caused Harper to miss the last two games of Class A's first half and also will not participate in the home run contest scheduled for prior to the All-Star Game.

Harper's thumb, which is sore due to being jammed by inside pitches repeatedly, said that “the thumb’s feeling good,” Harper said. “I tried to take those two days off, and I got them, and now there’s time to rest it a little bit and be ready to go.”

There has been wide speculation that Harper will be promoted shortly as he has nothing left to prove. That could be high-Class A or even Double-A, although Harper mentioned Triple-A and the majors when saying he would do whatever the Nationals wanted him to do. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft also spoke about the kissing incident, when he was sighted blowing a kiss in the air to a pitcher after hitting a home run.

“I don’t really care what people say about me,” Harper said. “Everyone can write what they want to write and think what they want to think. But my family and friends, and everybody who’s been around me since high school and college, and everybody who knows me, knows what type of person I am. People are going to make assumptions. . . . They can do whatever they want. They don’t know me.”

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm
 

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?


By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:16 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:32 am
 

Harper blows a kiss to opposing pitcher

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Last year at this time, the Nationals made Bryce Harper the No. 1 overall pick. There was no question he was the top talent available, but there was question about his mental makeup. Or, in other words, people said he was a jerk.

Well, the day before the anniversary of his being drafted, Harper showed exactly why he got labeled as such a jerk, and this time cameras from CSNWashington.com were there to catch it.

Check out this video:

I thought his trot was bad enough -- as apparently did pitcher Zachary Neal, who glared at him as he went around the bases -- before he blew Neal a kiss before crossing home plate. He continued talking as he made his way toward the dugout.

Neal wasn't pitching when Harper came up in eighth -- Michael Ojala was on the mound for Greensboro -- but the Grasshoppers were holding a 3-2 lead, so Harper didn't get drilled. But I don't think anyone would be surprised if Harper finds a baseball between his shoulder blades tonight when the two teams meet again.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 10:35 am
 

Pepper: No baseball in November



Can Zack Greinke continue to lead the Brewers? What is going on with Cliff Lee? How important is Josh Hamilton to the Rangers? Scott Miller joins Lauren Shehadi with the answers.

By Evan Brunell


NO BASEBALL IN NOVEMBER
: As baseball tries to expand the postseason to one additional Wild Card series, the question has always been how that can be pulled off without pushing the postseason into November, which both fans and players dislike. Angels manager Mike Scioscia feels the postseason can be limited to just October and accommodate an expansion without eating into the 162-game season.

Scioscia, who is part of a special committee for on-field matters and has input into the expansion of the playoffs, feels that by tightening up travel time and playing the occasional doubleheader, an extra series can be fitted in easily. In regards to travel, Scioscia points to his own team's upcoming trip from L.A. to Seattle, New York, Florida and back to Los Angeles as inefficient because of two off days during the trip.

"I don't know what kindergartner figured that one out, but I think maybe we can move to first grade and get that a little better organized," Scioscia said. "The bottom line is we need to be more efficient with travel."

Scioscia believes teams should play in the division for the bulk of April, July and September, which will cut down on travel, as well as schedule the occasional double-header. If baseball can trim the postseason by a few days as well, the World Series would be complete by the time Halloween rolls around.

"We can't have baseball played in November," Scioscia said. "I don't think the Pilgrims set it up that way." (Los Angeles Times)

SLEEPLESS IN CHICAGO
: Cubs manager Mike Quade admitted after Albert Pujols' 12th inning walk-off home run on Saturday that he needs to do a better job communicating with his pitcher and catcher on what to do in these type of situations. Clearly, he's got some more work to do as Pujols repeated his walk-off home run heroics in the 10th inning Sunday. (MLB.com)

DEAD BALL
: The Phillies won Sunday's game 7-3, but that doesn't mask what was a missed opportunity to score an extra run for Philadelphia. Through no fault of the team, Domonic Brown's single hit the umpire at second base and was immediately ruled a dead ball. There were runners on first and third, but Ryan Howard, on third, was not allowed to advance. The bases were loaded for Wilson Valdez, who grounded into an inning-ending double play. Just overall a weird play and a weird result -- you'd think Howard would be able to score on that play. (MLB.com)

EJECTED
: Jason Marquis was ejected from the game Sunday after plunking Justin Upton for the fourth time in the four-game series. Both Marquis and manager Jim Riggleman were adamant that the HBP was not intentional after two Nationals got hit in the inning previous. You can believe that, as the game was currently 1-0 and Upton represented the go-ahead run on base. (MLB.com)

HARPER DOWN
: Touted Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch on the left knee in the first inning, and had to leave the game after needing to hobble to the dugout. Good news, though: It appears to be just a bone bruise, so he should be back in the lineup before long. (Washington Post)

ZIMMERMAN REHABBING: In that same game in which Harper was struck by a pitch, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman began his comeback trail by going 2-for-2 with a walk. Zim had an ab tear way back on April 9 and is only just getting back into the fold. It's unclear when Zimmerman will return to Washington, but mid-June looks like a good bet. (MLB.com)

VERLANDER THE BEST? Jim Leyland's been around, so he's got plenty of first-hand experience on which pitcher has been the best to ever pitch for Leyland. The long-time skipper says Verlander has the best stuff of any pitcher he's seen without question, although he still calls Doug Drabek the best pitcher, as Verlander is still learning how to pitch. (MLB.com)

PERFECT IN TRIPLE-A
: Mike Minor has made two spot starts for the Braves due to Brandon Beachy's injury, but was shipped back to Triple-A as the club did not need a fifth starter for a while. Minor showed Atlanta he should be considered for the next spot start after taking a perfect game into the seventh and finishing up with a one-hitter through eight. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

TIME TO WAIT: Many in the game seemed to feel as if Brett Lawrie would be called up to Toronto last Friday. That changed when he was hit by a pitch, and that bruise has landed him on the seven-day DL although it was backdated to the point where he will only miss two games. Once Lawrie's pain subsides, he's expected to make his major-league debut. (MLB.com)

HITTING HINDERED: Luke Scott's torn labrum is affecting his hitting, he finally admitted on Sunday. Scott is hitting just .224 this year with six home runs and received a cortisone shot in the hopes that clears up the pain. For now, he's still avoiding any talk about surgery. (MASN)

BELTRAN BRUISED: Carlos Beltran has had a strong season so far, crushing a league-leading 19 doubles and playing in 57 of a possible 59 games. On Sunday, he had to leave the game with a bruise after fouling a ball off his right leg, but is considered day-to-day. (New York Times)

BACKSTOP HEALING: Nick Hundley bashed a home run in his rehab start on Sunday, proving his strained oblique has healed nicely. If he comes through his rehab assignment with no setbacks, he could be back in San Diego by Wednesday. (MLB.com)

MENTAL BREAKS: Jason Bay (New York Times) and Alex Rios (MLB.com) are both receiving mental breaks as both players are scuffling. Rios has been letting his frustrating seep out, so manager Ozzie Guillen feels as if Rios could benefit from a few days off. Bay, who has struggled mightily, will be back in the lineup when the team plays again Tuesday.

BATTING AROUND: Curious how many teams have batted around in the order during the first inning without recording an out? Well, the last time that happened was in 2006 when the Indians terrorized K.C. for seven runs before registering their first out, needing 10 hitters to do so. (Baseball Reference)

NEW JOB? Ozzie Guillen's on the hot seat in Chicago, so his job mixing drinks for a charity event could prove a harbinger of his future job. OK, not really. (White Sox Twitter)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:40 am
 

Pepper: Sabean over the top in his comments



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

BASEBALL TODAY: CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss the chances of the Marlins, Brewers and Diamondbacks sticking around all season.

SABEAN OUT OF LINE: Buster Posey's injury is the story that just won't die -- and it flared up again on Thursday when Giants general manager Brian Sabean ripped Scott Cousins on a San Francisco radio station.

Sabean intimated there would be some sort of retaliation the next time the Giants saw the Marlins' Cousins. For a general manager to imply his team would be looking to hurt another player is irresponsible and reprehensible -- especially when Cousins played within the rules. You can bet Bud Selig will be making a call to Sabean and there will plenty of eyes on the Giants when they head to Florida Aug. 12-14.

Not only were Sabean's comments unprofessional, they're also hypocritical. Baseball Prospectus' Larry Granillo takes a look at Pablo Sandoval's similar play last season against the Pirates, and also a play from 2006 which was worse that happened to the Giants' Todd Greene, but caused no public outrage from Sabean.

Cousins' agent, Matt Sosnick, answered, saying his client has already gotten death threats, which probably won't be helped with Sabean flaming the fire. He also noted Cousins feels terrible about hurting Posey.

"The fact that Posey got hurt is terrible and everyone feels terribly about it," Sosnick told Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News. "No one feels worse, outside of Posey, than Scott did. But it's over. The play was within the rules; it was a fair, legitimate play. There’s no way Scott could know in the heat of the moment if there was a sliding lane of not.

"It was legal in baseball. He helped his team. The fact someone got injured on the play stinks.

"I understand Sabean is upset about it. Based on the fact that I know he’s a good guy, I am really hoping that he was speaking in the heat of the moment and out of emotion. Because if he wasn't, he took a bad situation and certainly made it a lot worse."

WEBB SHUT DOWN: Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb felt discomfort in his right shoulder in a bullpen session on Thursday and is being shut down. He has been prescribed anti-inflammatories and will be shut down for a minimum of seven days. (MLB.com)

9 TEAMS VIOLATE DEBT RULES: We all knew the Dodgers and Mets were in financial trouble, but they're apparently not alone. According to a Los Angeles Times report, a total of nine of the 30 teams are in violation of the MLB debt service rules which limit team's debt levels to 10 times its annual earnings. The guilty teams are a mix of big and small market teams -- the Mets, Dodgers, Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Marlins, Phillies, Rangers and Nationals.

DRAFT BONANZA: While the Rays may have more picks than anyone else in next week's draft, the Diamondbacks have the most valuable picks. In one of the deepest drafts in years, Arizona has a chance to pick up two impact players, drafting No. 3 and No. 7 overall. (Arizona Republic)

Yankees' MISSED OPPORTUNITY: UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole may be the top pick (or at least in the top three) next week, but it won't be the first time he's drafted in the first round. The Yankees took him in 2008, but he decided to go to UCLA instead. (New York Daily News)

WRIGHT, WILPON OK: David Wright finally spoke to Mets owner (for now) Fred Wilpon and said "all is well." Wright is one of the players Wilpon criticized in a New Yorker article. (New York Post)

Things should continue to be good with Wright and Wilpon, because it's unlikely he's going anywhere. Earlier this week there were rumors Wright may be moved, but the New York Daily News reports Wright's option for 2013 is team-specific, meaning only the Mets could exercise it. Any other team would risk losing Wright to free agency following the 2012 season. Anyway, it doesn't make much sense to sell low on Wright right now anyway, so expect him to stay with the Mets.

JETER WATCH: Derek Jeter currently has 2,984 hits and he acknowledges he feels a bit of a "responsibility" to reach 3,000 at Yankee Stadium. At his current pace, he'd get hit 3,000 at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs on June 18. Oddly enough, another Yankee had a chance at a milestone at Wrigley Field recently -- Roger Clemens' third shot at his 300th win was at Wrigley Field in June, 2003, but he lost that game. He won in his next start -- at Yankee Stadium against the Cardinals. The Yankees have a 10-game homestead from June 7-16 before going to Chicago for three and Cincinnati for three, returning home on June 24. Selfishly, I'd love to see Jeter go for 3,000 in Cincinnati, just so I could see it in person. It'd be more fitting for him to get it in New York, though. (New York Daily News)

DISAPPOINTMENTS: What do Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Carpenter, Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford have in common? Well, they're all rich. Besides that, they're also on SI.com's Joe Sheehan's All-Disappointment Team. I'd take all five of those guys in a heartbeat. They're a discappointment because they haven't lived up to their own high standards so far, all five have the ability to turn it around in a heartbeat.

GRITTY AND GUTTY: Sure, these gifts are a little too prized by old-timers and not prized enough by new-school thinkers. Whatever their worth, those kind of players are fun to watch -- and the Padres have one in Chris Denorfia. As a personal note, Denorfia is one of the really good guys in the game and I'm glad to see him doing well. (San Diego Tribune-Review)

HARPER SHINES, STRUGGLES: In one game, Bryce Harper showed exactly why he's too good for the South Atlantic League, but also not quite ready to be called up to the next level. In addition to a walk-off homer, Harper fell victim to the old fake-to-third-throw-to-first move and was also caught in a rundown. (Washington Post)

CURE FOR THE CURSE? The Cubs are 5-0 in throwback uniforms -- now if they'd just wear them all the time… (BleedCubbieBlue.com)

FOR THE SNEAKERHEADS: Move over Brian Wilson, Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie has the coolest spikes on the planet. Guthrie has a pair of Air Jordan I spikes that are just plain awesome. (NikeBlog.com)

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

Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 10:14 am
 

Pepper: Harper staying in Hagerstown?


By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Ubaldo Jimenez get his first win and help bring the Rockies out of their most recent slide? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi to talk about that and much more. Click on the video above to watch.

STAYING PUT: This season's MLB draft is less than a week away, and last year's No. 1 overall selection is terrorizing Class-A pitching. Bryce Harper -- who is still only 18 -- is hitting .331 with 11 homers, 36 RBI, 14 doubles, 34 runs and a 1.009 OPS through 50 games. He's even stolen 10 bases. Obviously, with this in mind, there's been lots of talk about when Harper will be promoted to Double-A. Davey Johnson, Nationals senior advisor to the general manager, isn't ready for Harper to make that jump just yet, however. "I see him being there probably, for sure, through the half season," Johnson said. "I am not a big believer in moving guys during the season. Let them put the numbers up so they have an idea of what they are probably required to do every year. Sometimes, when you divide up the season, especially a younger guy, then you try too much to try impress the next group of guys and sometimes that can lead to problems." Kudos to the Nats for staying patient with the youngster, even if it might be tempting to move him along quickly. Still, you have to wonder if Harper gets really hot again -- he has cooled in the past few weeks -- will he just get bored? It feels like you need to challenge a guy without rushing him. (MASNsports.com)

UNFAIR HOT SEAT: Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times defends Ozzie Guillen, who is coming under fire more and more in Chicago for team underperfomance and also for some of his "tirades." Cowley actually compares Guillen to Mike Scioscia of the Angels, saying:
What does a World Series ring won more than five years ago and a career .500-plus record as a manager get you these days?

Well, it gets you a contract extension that runs through 2018 — basically a lifetime scholarship. It earns you the right to be in charge of player-personnel and coaching decisions. And it affords you a payroll that has been over $100 million seven of the last eight years.

At least it does outside of Chicago.

Right, Mike Scioscia?
That's a pretty good point. I don't believe Guillen should be on the hot seat one bit. If management wanted him to shut up, it would have fired him long ago. Plus, a lot of what he says is twisted and misconstrued. Between the lines, I have no idea how you can blame Guillen for the underperfomances of the bullpen (in the early season) and people like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.

'OVERRATED?' SO WHAT: When Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain were told they were voted the two most overrated players in baseball by their peers, they weren't exactly bothered. A-Rod: "So the Yankees are popular? That's good. I've been on this list many, many times and I'm sure I'll be there again next summer." Chamberlain: "I don't care. My bills are paid and I still have a job." Another interesting note is Derek Jeter, who checked in at third. He said he wasn't asked to fill out one of those anonymous surverys, but would decline to fill one out if asked. Kind of makes you wonder the sample of players chosen. (NY Times Bats blog)

VELOCITY DOWN FOR MARMOL: Maybe it was tougher to notice when Cubs closer Carlos Marmol entered Tuesday night with a 1.17 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings, but after his terrifying outing against the Astros -- probably the worst of his career, actually -- Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times points out that Marmol's velocity has been in decline for quite some time. That's probably why he's fallen in love with throwing his wicked slider. Check out this chart. I'll cop to noticing this earlier in the season and discounting it to myself that the weather was still cold --  meaning maybe he couldn't get as loose. I'll also cop to being a Cubs fan and probably trying really hard to convince myself the dip in velocity was meaningless. So the question: Is Marmol injured, overworked or just losing strength? Oh, while we're here ...

CALM CARLOS: Sure, Carlos Zambrano broke a bat over his leg after striking out at the plate Tuesday night, but after Marmol blew the save and wasted a stellar effort from Zambrano on the hill, the once-fiery hurler consoled his teammate: "It happens to Mariano Rivera. It happens to Joe Nathan. It happens to the best of the best. I told him, just keep your head up, tomorrow's another day." (Chicago Sun-Times)

MUST-SEE GIF: Check out -- via Fangraphs.com -- Adrian Gonzalez saving his teammates and coaches from possibly getting struck with a line drive. The man can certainly handle the stick.

TOUGH LUCK LOSER? Look at the line for Jeremy Guthrie and you'll see a complete game with zero earned runs in which he took the loss. He even tweeted that very line, saying, "Accomplished something difficult tonight. Pitched a complete game allowing 0 ER & lost." Of course, if you watched the game or look at the play-by-play, you'll see the loss was actually Guthrie's fault. He made an error that allowed the eighth inning to continue before giving up a single and then a three-run home run by Justin Smoak. I will defend Guthrie a bit here, though. He's got a 3.24 ERA this season, yet sports a 2-7 record now. On his career, he's actually been a quality starting pitcher but had awful luck with wins and losses (40-55, 4.08). He's probably just sick of the stat, as well he should be. There are much better ways to measure pitching performance.

A CALL TO THE Mets: Gary Carter should have his number retired with the Mets, says Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. I'd be fine with the move, especially in light of Carter's health woes, but I think the call-out of the Wilpon family and all of Mets management for not "doing the right thing" for the past 22 years is a bit much. Maybe it's just a convenient time to pile on Mets' management and curry favor with fans, but Carter only had two really good seasons for the Mets. Both were top-10 MVP finishes and one was the 1986 World Series championship season, but the bulk of his Hall of Fame resume was built in Montreal. That said, again, I'm completely fine with the movement. Really, anything that helps Carter and his family find some happiness right now is a bonus.

AWESOME PROPOSAL: Most of the time, ballpark proposals are a bit lame. Not this time, not even close. Check it out and make sure to watch the whole thing. (Hat-tip to Big League Stew)



For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 27, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:28 am
 

Pepper: 'Walk-off' was supposed to be bad



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Marlins be a player in the National League East all season? Will the Brewers extend their winning streak? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more. Click on the video above to watch.

ON "WALK-OFF:" Dennis Eckersley coined the term "walk-off" during the 1988 season when he was a lights-out closer for the A's. "There's nothing like it," Eckersley said. "It's so final. And it centers strictly on you (the pitcher), unless it's a grounder between the third baseman's legs or something. Ultimately, you're the one." From there, Eck meant "walk-off" to be the pitcher -- probably the closer -- walking off the field from the pitcher's mound. It's interesting in that it's evolved into a mainstream term for the winning team. (SFgate.com)

THREE-HEADED JAYS: With Frank Francisco struggling, Blue Jays manager John Farrell has announced he'll use three closers: Francisco, Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, so it's going to be a bit of a matchup thing. (MLB.com) I understand the mentality these days is to pick on closer and stick with him, the thought process being that everyone knows his particular role. This method, however, is much more logical when you don't have a lock-down closer.

WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME: You think you've seen a bad at-bat, at any level? Doubtful you've seen one this poor. Check out this tweet about San Diego State. Apparently they had the bases loaded and nobody out with a 3-0 count ... and popped out into a triple play. I don't think any words could really do that justice, so we'll just let it stand on its own.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Aroldis Chapman made a Triple-A rehab outing Thursday, and he didn't have the control issues that plagued him before his DL stint. Of the 40 pitches he threw, 29 were strikes. He also struck out five batters. On the down side, he allowed five hits and three runs. (Louisville Bats Twitter) I'd still say this has to be considered a success. He's working his way back and the biggest issue pre-injury was control. If Chapman gets back to good health and is throwing strikes, he'll get guys out. His stuff is too good not to.

RANKING THE OWNERS: Jim Caple at ESPN ranked the owners of baseball, 1-30. I was most interested to see who would "win" the title of worst owner between the McCourts (Dodgers) and Fred Wilpon (Mets). It was the McCourts, which is a correct choice but really illustrates just how bad they are. One thing I found interesting was Caple spent his entire paragraph on the Yankees defending the choice (he ranked the Steinbrenners fourth). I don't blame Caple, as it seems that everyone who isn't a Yankees fan likes to freak out about the Steinbrenners and how awful they are. But the bottom line is that they demand success in the on-field product and would rather spend any profits on making the team better than pocket it. Obviously, there's a vast difference in resources, but that doesn't happen in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Those owners have kept revenue sharing money on several occasions.

HYPING HARPER: The hype for Bryce Harper just keeps growing, and it's because he's just toying with the pitching he's seeing in Class-A Hagerstown (1.056 OPS). Remember, he's only supposed to be a senior in high school. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus runs through a scouting report on Harper, and the power section jumps off the page. Harper gets a perfect score of 80 and the words "freakish" and "Superman" are included. Goldstein notes Mike Stanton was previously seen as the prospect most likely to hit 50 homers in a major-league season, and now that person is Harper. One word of caution, from the "makeup" category: "While it never came close to outweighing his talent, Harper's arrogant, confrontational style of play turned off many during his high school and college years. He has yet to really temper his style as a pro, which has already led to a couple of near-brawls due to a propensity to stare down opposing pitchers or gesticulate toward dugouts." (Baseball Prospectus)

WHERE DOES HE FIT? Another interesting list over at ESPN.com is the top 50 prospects of the draft era. I don't know how easy it is to compile something like this and it's gotta be completely subjective. Still, it's fun to see the names on there and remember the hype. From Shawon Dunston to Ben McDonald to Todd Van Poppel to Gregg Jefferies to, of course, Brien Taylor. Mr. Harper is on there, too, and he's pretty damn high. (ESPN Sweet Spot blog)

CONTACT HITTERS: We hear plenty of whining from fans about high-strikeout players, so let's give some props to the guys who make great contact. JunkStats put together the best hitters in terms of swing-and-miss rate (that is, the guys who don't do it often). Juan Pierre, Brett Gardner, Jamey Carroll, Denard Span and Todd Helton are the top five. The site also broke down swing-and-miss rates inside the strike zone and outside it. (JunkStats)

GREAT CAUSE: Yankees reliever David Robertson and his wife, Erin, have started a "fund to help those affected most by the devastating tornadoes that his David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL." (High Socks For Hope)

SORE HAMMY: Aramis Ramirez has been battling a tight left hamstring for the last few weeks. Does it have anything to do with why he's lost his power? ‘‘It does, but I don’t want to make excuses,’’ he told the Sun Times. ‘‘I feel good enough to drive the ball. I hit the ball on the line and hit the ball hard. I guess that’s a swing that I’ve got to find.’’ Well, he kind of just did make an excuse, but I'm not going to go after Ramirez. He's a stand up guy and always has been. Him hiding the injury for a few weeks shows he doesn't want to blame his lack of pop on anything else.

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