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Tag:Yuniesky Betancourt
Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Offense rules in NL Central

By C. Trent Rosecrans
2011 All-Star Game

SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL West

The National League Central has the most teams, some of the game's brightest stars and perhaps its best story in the Pittsburgh Pirates. How deep is the talent in the NL Central? The last two men to win the National League MVP are first basemen in the division and neither makes this NL Central All-Star team. The pitching isn't too deep, at least in terms of starters, but this lineup can absolutely mash the ball.

Ramon HernandezC Ramon Hernandez, Reds: This one is a surprise, as Yadier Molina -- perhaps the game's best defensive catcher -- is an All-Star and a deserving one at that. But the nod here goes to the guy Reds manager Dusty Baker calls "Clutch Man Monie." On opening day, his three-run homer gave the Reds a walk-off victory and he's been producing at the plate since, including a ninth-inning homer yesterday against Brewers closer John Axford and the delivered the game's winning hit in the 13th inning Wednesday night in St. Louis. Hernandez's overall line -- .316/.374/.526 -- makes up for the difference between his defense and Molina's. Molina is hitting a respectable .279/.329/.408, but Clutch Man Monie has been money, especially for a player who is still essentially splitting time with Ryan Hanigan.

Prince Fielder1B Joey Votto, Reds: Votto was the National League MVP in 2010, but Prince Fielder's been the league's MVP for the first half of this season. Fielder is hitting .302/.418/.588 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI, tied for the most in the league. Votto's been good as well, but Fielder's power numbers put him over the top. So why is Votto listed here instead of Fielder? Because as I filled out the lineup card, I looked and had Votto as DH and Fielder at first. Anyone who has seen those two with gloves on their hand know you'd rather have Votto (especially with Starlin Castro also in the infield) playing the field. So Fielder wins the spot, but Votto gets the nod, if that makes sense.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Andrew McCutchen PIT CF
2 Rickie Weeks MIL 2B
3 Joey Votto CIN 1B
4 Prince Fielder MIL DH
5 Lance Berkman STL RF
6 Ryan Braun MIL LF
7 Aramis Ramirez CHI 3B
8 Ramon Hernandez CIN C
9 Starlin Castro CHI SS

Rickie Weeks2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Another Brewer nips a Red. While Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips is far and away a better defensive player, Weeks is having an incredible offensive season so far. Weeks is hitting .275/.345/.476 with 15 home runs. Phillips has 10 more RBI, but that's not all that surprising considering Weeks is used as a leadoff man. 

Aramis Ramirez3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: It's easy for Ramirez to get lost among the Cubs' mounting losses, but the 33-year-old is having a solid season, which may be his last with the Cubs. The Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, with a $2 million buyout. The Ricketts family may want to find a cheaper option, but Ramirez has produced this year, hitting .298/.346/.495 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. He's also playing a decent third base, much better than his reputation would suggest. 

Starlin CastroSS Starlin Castro, Cubs: Sure, he's a mess defensively, but the kid can absolutely rake. Castro is hitting .305/.334/.428 with two home runs and 38 RBI, while stealing 10 bags as well. The 21-year-old is the player the Cubs will build around in the future, and for good cause. He also doesn't have a lot of competition in this division. The Pirates' Ronny Cedeno has been good defensively, but lacking offensively. The Cardinals' Ryan Theriot is hitting well, but was a below-average defensive second baseman and now he's playing short and then there's Yuniesky Betancourt, who has been terrible offensively and defensively.

LF Ryan Braun, Brewers: Talk about a stacked offensive division -- in left field you've got Matt Holliday and Braun. Braun, though gets the nod. He's been healthy (of course, Holliday's problems may make his numbers more impressive) and produced, hitting .320/.402/559 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He's also stolen 19 bases to boot.

Andrew McCutchenCF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: If Bruce Bochy doesn't want him, I'll sure as heck take him as my starter in center. A Gold Glove-caliber fielder, plus a .291/.389/.491 slash line and 12 homers and 15 stolen bases. McCutchen should be in the MVP discussion with the season he's had. If it weren't for McCutchen, Michael Bourn would be the pick. Bourn's hitting .288/.350/.399 with 35 stolen bases. Between those two and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs, you could put together a heck of a relay team.

Lance BerkmanRF Lance Berkman, Cardinals: Sure he's a first baseman playing in the outfield, but who cares because he's made up for his atrocious defense with an offensive rebirth. The Cardinals gambled on Berkman this offseason and have been rewarded to the tune of .287/.399/.598 with a league-leading 23 home runs and 62 RBIs. The division also has Jay Bruce, Corey Hart and Hunter Pence, so it has right fielders to spare (not to mention Jon Jay, who played right field while Berkman was playing first for Albert Pujols.)

Prince FielderDH Prince Fielder, Brewers: This is a bit of a cheat, since I initially picked Fielder at first base. The decision here was between Votto and Holliday, and in a toss-up, I went with the reigning MVP, although either has a good case. Votto's hitting .319/.434/.497 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI, while Holliday is hitting .320/.417/.570 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. Votto's seen fewer pitches to drive than he did a year ago, but is still producing. And once I was filling out the lineup card, I went with Votto at first base and Fielder as the DH.

Johnny CuetoSP Johnny Cueto, Reds: This division doesn't have a Cy Young candidate in the bunch, but does have several good young pitchers, including the 25-year-old Cueto, who started the season on the disabled list but is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia is 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA and one of the best young left-handers in the game and Chicago's Matt Garza has been a victim of pitching for the Cubs, going 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA and an xFIP of 2.86.

Sean MarshallRP Sean Marshall, Cubs: The Cubs' left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA, striking out 43 in 41 1/3 innings, while walking just nine. His xFIP is 2.27 and he's induced ground balls on 60.4 percent of the balls put in play, a good characteristic for a middle reliever, who will often come into the game with runners on base. Apologies to the Reds' Bill Bray and the Cardinals' Jason Motte.

Joel HanrahanCL Joel Hanrahan, Pirates: Hanrahan leads the division in saves with 25 and hasn't blown a single save this season.  Of the eight runners he's inherited this year, none of scored. He has 33 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings and eight walks. He's allowed just six earned runs (good for a 1.37 ERA). The division has several good starters, including the Reds' Francisco Cordero (17 saves, 1.69 ERA), the Brewers' John Axford (23 saves, 2.90 ERA) and the Cardinals' Fernando Salas (15 saves, 2.41 ERA).

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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Posted on: March 17, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Marcum leaves early, says he's fine

Shaun MarcumBy C. Trent Rosecrans

You can forgive Brewer fans for being a little tight right about now.

Milwaukee had another starter leave the game prematurely -- this time it was right-hander Shaun Marcum. However, Marcum said he didn't think the tightness in his right shoulder was anything to worry about.

"This may be one of those things to take a day or two off of throwing to get the tightness out of there and pick back up where I left off and get ready for April 2," Marcum told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Marcum left after three innings of Thursday's game against the White Sox. He allowed just a hit and struck out two before exiting.

"It felt good the first two innings and in between the second and third it started tightening up," Marcum said. "We just decided it would be in the best interest to not go back out."

The Brewers, of course, lost Zack Greinke earlier this spring. The team has also seen injuries to Corey Hart, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson.

"We are this far along, we have two weeks left and it seems like everyone is going down," Marcum said. "You want to be one of the guys that stays healthy and is able to play when it is my time."

It would be silly to panic now, but there is certainly concern in Brewer camp. A couple of more injuries and the needle could move away from concern and toward panic.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 7:27 pm
 

Pepper: Dominoes falling after Wainwright injury



THE WAINWRIGHT EFFECT:
In what had previously been a rather quiet week in baseball, we learned Wednesday that star Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright might be forced to undergo what would be season-ending surgery (Update: He will have the surgery ). So, of course, the news sent shockwaves through the baseball world -- and I don't mean those sent by an alleged celebratory song that turned out to be, well, nothing .

First of all, his contact situation becomes murky. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes , Wainwright had a two-year option for $21 million for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that vested due to his top-five finish in Cy Young voting last season. If he ends a season on the disabled list due to an  arm or shoulder injury, however, the Cardinals may void the deal. If he does have to go through the surgery and rehab, Wainwright will be a 30-year-old battling back from Tommy John surgery at this time next. And keep in mind the Cardinals will be desperately finding ways to keep Albert Pujols come next offseason. Simply put: this injury could cost Wainwright a lot of money -- or at the very least cloud his future with the Cardinals.

Next up, my colleague C. Trent Rosecrans did an excellent roundup of possible Cardinals options to replace Wainwright, but one guy who may end up eventually being an option is Mark Buehrle of the White Sox. The veteran left-hander is in the final year of his four-year contract and could go on the block by the time the trade deadline comes around. Of course, many things would have to happen between now and then and it's a long way away from the time when any talk could be taken seriously, but Buehrle seemed to indicate (to MLB.com) he would waive his no-trade clause in the right situation -- though he'd rather stay in Chicago.

And finally, in the likely-washed-up category, Kevin Millwood is working out like he's expecting a job this season. "I am just kind of keeping going, staying in shape and getting my arm ready to go when something does happen," Millwood told the Baltimore Sun .

JUST HOLD THE GAMBLING: Mike Schmidt wants Jimmy Rollins to be more like ... Pete Rose. While Rollins might be part of a winning team, he's still underachieving, according to the Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman. "I just think Pete understood more what his role was. Jimmy kind of gets to being Jimmy. Jimmy needs to be more Pete Rose-like in his approach to the game, and more accountable for getting on base and understanding that offensively, he's about running and getting on base and getting hits and leading the lead in hitting," Schmidt told reporters. (Philadelphia Daily News )

BUT WHAT'S A ZONE RATING? Despite nearly every defensive metric available -- save for that good, old-fashioned eye test -- telling them otherwise, the Brewers seem to like the defensive prowess of Yuniesky Betancourt.

"I think appearances sometimes [work against him], how a guy plays," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel .

"He's more of a 'smooth' type of fielder, the manager went on. "He doesn't have the speed like you had with [former Brewers shortstop Alcides] Escobar and we had with [Angels shortstop Erick] Aybar. You don't see that flash where he's flying to the ball. He's moving OK; he's just a smooth runner. He's not as fast as those two I mentioned but he has good hands and a good arm. I think he makes the steady play. I don't consider him a defensive liability."

According to Fangraphs.com, including qualified players only, Betancourt rated as the third-worst shortstop in baseball last season defensively -- ahead of only Hanley Ramirez and Jason Bartlett. Maligned defenders like Derek Jeter and Starlin Castro rate out better. But hey, at least he has good hands -- always an important feature among guys who don't get to many grounders.

MOVE OVER RAUCH: The Blue Jays hurler stands at 6-foot-11 and is the tallest player in major league history, but that record appears to be toppling soon in favor of a 7-foot-1 pitcher for the Angels. Loek Van Mil appears a menacing presence on the hill, and that's before you factor in his ability to hit 99 on the radar gun. The 26 year old notes he wants to make the bigs on merit, not as a side show. (Yahoo! )

ALLOW MYSELF TO INTRODUCE ... MYSELF: Miguel Tejada will be portrayed by Royce Clayton in the upcoming movie, Moneyball . Clayton noted he worked hard to try and replicate Tejada's swing, but we won't see him using a Dominican accent. "I gave it a whirl, but [the producers] told me to lose it after a while," Clayton said. Considering the career .679 OPS (to Tejada's .801), there will be more than one difference. But, hey, at least we won't be forced to believe Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a major league prospect . (San Francisco Chronicle )

COLORADO CHALLENGE:
After a nine-game regression by a young, but really talented, team in 2010, Rockies manager Jim Tracy opened camp by challenging his team to get better. He used numbers. Like 833 (the number of days the team collectively spent on the DL last year) and 30 (the number of games the Rockies lost by one run). Seeing things like that makes you realize just how dangerous the still-young Rockies can be in 2011. The West race very much seems to be a two-teamer at this point. (MLB.com )

BYE BYE Rays? A St. Petersburg Times columnist discusses how either relocation or contraction never seems to stray far from the Tampa Bay Rays. He opines that by 2017, when debt payments to Tropicana Field are concluded, the Rays could be in trouble. On one hand, it's disappointing to hear talk like this for any team. On the other, it's even more disappointing that a team as exciting as the Rays -- who have won the AL East twice and American League once in the past three seasons -- can't draw any better. In 2010, the Rays drew 22,758 fans per home game, which is only 52 percent of the stadium's capacity. This was the worst among playoff teams. (ESPN.com )

A LASTING PLAN: After years of failing to live up to rather large hype, Lastings Milledge now has a "pretty good plan" on how to get his career on track as he joins the White Sox in camp. He's had his girlfriend cut off his long hair and is refocused. He won't reveal the ins and outs of his plan, but says the first step is making the team. Milledge was a first-round draft pick for the Mets out of high school in 2003 and arrived as a 21 year old in 2006, but he's only hit .269/.328/.394 in parts of five seasons for three different teams. Still, at age 25 he's far from cooked. Maybe he puts things together this time around. His talent is certainly still bouncing around in there somewhere. (Chicago Sun Times )

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Royals deepen club in Greinke haul

So, with Zack Greinke gone to Milwaukee, where does that leave the Royals?

For one, it leaves them in rough shape in the rotation as the team figures to roll out a Luke Hochevar-Kyle Davies-Vin Mazzaro-Sean O'Sullivan set along with presumably Bruce Chen if both sides can come to an agreement on the lefty resigning in town.

That's a rotation that will lose quite a few games, but the value in the Greinke deal is on the offensive side of the ball, plus the future of its pitching. The club is reportedly acquiring Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for center fielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later, -- and its not Jeremy Jeffress, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt adds. The Royals are also sending along $2 million to Milwaukee for Betancourt's 2012 buyout, as the team will almost certainly not pick up the $6 million option as Haudricourt reveals. The much-maligned shortstop is due $4 million in 2011 and will step in as Milwaukee's starting shortstop.

Cain Cain (pictured) should slide into center field and give the team a much-needed young player as the deep minor-league system has no viable alternative.  The marks against Cain are that he will be 25 years old with only 43 games experience in the majors and 22 in Triple-A. However, Cain hit .306/.348/.415 for the Brew Crew in 158 plate appearances and overtook Carlos Gomez for the starting center-field job. Cain isn't exactly oozing with tools, but according to some in the know, could be a valuable commodity for a long time and one whose age shouldn't be held against him as Cain only started playing baseball as a sophomore in high school -- with zero experience. Peter Gammons tweeted that Jim Fregosi told the Royals "when you trade Greinke, the one player you'd better get is Cain."

Escobar is a talented young shortstop but collasped under the weight of expectations in 2010. Expected to be the starting shortstop for K.C., he hit just .235/.288/.326 in 552 plate appearances and just 10 stolen bases along with disappointing defense for someone who was so heralded in that area. The year before, however, the newly-turned 24-year-old hit .304/.333/.368 in 134 PA. Escobar is a good gamble for a team who has Christian Colon years away from the farm and in a position so thin on quality options. The Brewers, for one, feel that Escobar can and will develop into one of the best shortstops in the game.

Odorizzi ranks atop Baseball America 's Top 10 Brewers prospect list and robs the club of one of the majors' best pitchg prospects. Hey, at least Greinke's a pretty nice consolation prize. The 20-year-old posted a 3.43 ERA in 120 2/3 innings for Class A, punching out 135 and walking just 40. The right-hander's pitching coach in Class A compared Odorizzi to a certain someone when speaking to Rob Brainerd of FOXSportsWisconsin.com in July:

"I think he’s got four above average pitches," confirmed [Chris] Hook. "Does he need to improve his changeup? Yeah. But I think, and I hate to put a name with him, he’s like a Zack Greinke to me. That type of pitcher that can command the strike zone."

As for the player to be named, popular sentiment had Jeremy Jeffress as part of the deal. Both sides continue to haggle over the PBTNL, but the 100-mph throwing Jeffress apparently will stay in Milwaukee and could be a big part of the Brewers's bullpen in 2011. Jeffress has a history of marijuana use that caused two suspensions.

So who could the PBTNL be? Assuming that it's another top prospects, options include third baseman Mat Gamel, catcher Jonathan LuCroy, outfielder Kentrail Davis, second baseman Scooter Gennett or pitchers Eric Arnett, Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas, Cody Scarpetta, Zach Braddock and Kyle Heckathorn.

The Royals did well here to acquire players that fit with their timeline of contention, as their top prospects are going to be filtering into the majors over the next few years and will be able to play together with a strong core. Suddenly, the 2014 club in K.C. looks like it could be quite the threat.

UPDATE : Some conflicting reports on the why, but Baseball Prospects' Kevin Goldstein and Haudricourt both agree that Jeffress seems to indeed be the PTBNL. Goldstein says the hangup is on a non-drug related issue while Haudricourt says K.C. is reviewing Jeffress' drug history.

UPDATE : Jeffress is now a Royal, as Haudricourt says. This makes the deal better from K.C.'s perspective, but it lacks that top-quality, can't-miss prospect that tends to be (should?) part of a deal for a young Cy Young Award-winning pitcher with two years left on the deal.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:09 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:56 am
 

Brewers land Greinke

Zack Greinke Well, we call oursleves Facts & Rumors on this blog, and file this under the latter.

This rumor comes from a fan blog on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel site, and maybe there's something to it. I don't know, but even the author doesn't seem to stand by his own report with a huge disclaimer saying this is just a rumor, but a rumor he feels comfortable enough to publish -- even though I'm not so sure the editors at the Journal Sentinel would feel the same way.

With all that said, the Bernies Crew blog claims Zack Greinke's headed to Milwaukee. The disgruntled 2009 American League Cy Young winner is apparently tired of losing and Milwaukee is the place to cure that? Anyway, the deal, as reported, is Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt along with $2 million to Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.

The Royals system is loaded, but does lack an impact shortstop and center fielder, so it would make sense in that it would fill needs, but doesn't seem to be on par with the impact players that the team has said it would need in order to make a deal.

Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein tweets he's talked to the agent of both Jeffress and Cain, and neither of his clients have been contacted by either team. Jeffress has tested positive for marijuana twice and has served a 100-game suspension. With one more positive test, he'd face a lifetime suspension. He made his big-league debut this year, but still would be a risky venture for the Royals.

With Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers would be vastly improved over last season (even with the addition of Betancourt) and in the National League Central, just about any team has a chance at making a run to a division title.

In the end, though, I'm not sure this one passes the sniff test. I could be really wrong, but I'm not sure the Royals are this desperate yet.

UPDATE: OnMilwaukee.com is reporting this as well , adding that the Royal would also receive right-hander Jake Odorizzi, a first-rounder in the 2008 draft. Odorizzi was 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA at Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League last season.  He struck out 135 in 120 2/3 innings. Odorizzi is not an insignificant add -- it makes the package look better and better. Although, the author of that report, Andrew Wagner, does not name Betancourt as going to Milwaukee, just a "major league" player. That would be debatable with Betancourt, but that he has drawn a big-league check, so he technically counts.

UPDATE: Journal Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt checks in on Twitter :


UPDATE: Haudricourt tweets again, but has no confirmation of the deal:

UPDATE: Several outlets confirm the deal, including the Journal Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt .

Give credit to Jim Breen over at Bernies Crew for the stories and my appoligies. You win the day and respect, while many ofthe rest of us eat crow. Good work, Jim, and my apologies.

This makes the National League Central a three-team race between the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals this season. The Brewers have an imposing top of the rotation with Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo.

That said, the team has given up its shortstop, center fielder and second baseman of the future, plus two of its best arms. Baseball America's upcoming Prospect Handbook had Odorizzi as the organization's top prospect and Jeffress third. It also means the Brewers are going for a title this season, and a trade of Prince Fielder is unlikely before the season.

Give Milwaukee credit, they're going for it -- much like they did when they acquired CC Sabathia in 2008. It will be a more interesting race in the National League Central, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets Jeffress isn't part of the deal, instead, a player to be named is headed to Kansas City. Heyman also notes the Royals had a deal with the Nationals, but Greinke would not approve that deal.

UPDATE: CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler says the deal is all but done, with the two teams haggling over the last player, which is likely Jeffress.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Jeter wins another Gold Glove

Oh, as we complain again and again about the Baseball Writers Association of America and their votes for MVP and Cy Young, the coaches and managers once again show they're not a better committee to choose the biggest awards in the game.

Exhibit A: Derek Jeter, Gold Glover.

Derek Jeter Yep, Jeter won the Gold Glove again on Tuesday in a vote from American League coaches and managers. Derek Jeter with a -5.4 UZR/150, -13 runs saved and -17 plus/minus, was determined by the coaches and managers to be the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Among qualified players, only Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (-13.8) and Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt (-9.2) had a worse UZR/150.

Sure, Jeter had just six errors, but the idea that errors tell you much about a player's defense is preposterous. It tells you who is able to make the routine plays best. That's well and good, but it has little to do with the best all-around defensive player. Jeter has the range of, well, a mediocre 36-year old defensive player. (You know how many times you see Jeter go into the hole and doing that leaping throw, but doesn't quite get the runner? Oh, what a gutty play, he doesn't get an E. Thing is, most other shortstops don't have to make that jump and get the runner.)

Who would be a better choice? Well, who wouldn't?

The Fielding Bible Awards had Chicago's Alexei Ramirez as its third-place finisher, and best among AL players. Ramirez's UZR/150 was 10.1, he had 16 runs saved and a 20 plus/minus.

In UZR/150, Ramirez was trailed by Oakland's Cliff Pennington (8.8), Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (5.8) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (0.3), among qualified players.

The Gold Gloves have been one of those openly mocked selections since a designated hitter won one in 1999 (Rafael Palmeiro). Defense, even in this day and age of advanced statistics, is still highly subjective, with reputation playing more of a role than production. That's what the Gold Glove tells us every year. It also tells us the coaches and managers have as much of a Yankee bias as the media is accused of having.

Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee infielder not to be awarded, even though the advanced statistics liked Oakland's infield much more.

Mark Teixeira won at first base, even though Oakland's Daric Barton was likely the best choice. Mark Ellis had the top UZR/150 among second basemen (12.7), but the winner was Robinson Cano (-0.9).  Also deserving at second would be Minnesota's Orlando Hudson (12.0 UZR/150). Hudson was the top AL vote-getter in the Fielding Bible Awards, while Ellis was behind him.

As for the outfield, that's probably where a Yankee was actually left off. Left fielder Brett Gardner had the best UZR/150 of any qualified outfielders with a 27.9. He also won the Fielding Bible Award in left field.

American League Gold Glove winners
P Mark Buehrle, White Sox
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B Evan Longoria, Rays
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carl Crawford, Rays
OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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






Posted on: October 11, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:33 am
 

R.I.P. Royals: Help is on the way

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. Today: The Kansas City Royals

Oh Royals, through the 70s and 80s, the team was the model franchise. Since the turn of the century, the team's only been a punchline. That wasn't much different in 2010.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Yuniesky Betancourt Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. That's been the reason for the last 17 years of failure.

Oh, on the field? This year? Beyond Yuniesky Betancourt (pictured) being the team's shortstop? OK, Zack Greinke took a step back from his Cy Young 2009. Worse, he looked like another guy in a Royals uniform -- and that's not a good thing. Greinke went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

How about Bruce Chen? Chen was 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA (the same as Greinke) -- but if you're looking long-term success, you're not betting on Chen.

Other positives? Joakim Soria may have been the best closer in the game, even if he didn't have too many games to close. Soria finished with 43 saves, a 1.78 ERA and 71 strikeouts and 16 walks in 65 2/3 innings.

The team also got rid of overpaid veterans like Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel.

HELP ON THE WAY

Oh, is there ever.

Mike Moustakas The Royals have the deepest minor league system in the majors. Of Baseball America's 15-man Minor League All-Star Team, a full third were Royals.

The Royals are deep in position players (first baseman Eric Hosmer, catcher Wil Myers and third baseman Mike Moustakas (pictured)) and pitchers (lefty starters John Lamb and Mike Montgomery, reliever Tim Collins).

That's the good news, the bad news is with all this talent, it's still not ready for the big leagues in 2011, maybe 2012.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Same as they always are in Kansas City -- grim. As noted, there's help on the way and maybe some of those guys can make their debut late in the season, but this won't be the season for the Royals to make a move. There is a brighter days ahead, but they aren't in the 10-day forecast.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Don't raise ticket prices, because it's going to be another long year.

Greinke has started griping about not wanting to wait around for the Royals to get better, but he's still under contract through 2012. There's no reason to trade him this offseason, his value is lower than it should be and the asking price will be better in 2011 -- either at the trade deadline or after the season.

The Royals have already picked up the $6 million club option for outfielder David DeJesus, and he'll certainly bring something at the trade deadline next year.

There will certainly be plenty of suitors trying to pick up Soria, who is under team control through 2014. Listen, but unless bowled over for a deal, he's too valuable and under control for too long to move.

No fan is going to want to hear that they need patience, but there is actually hope for the Royals after so long without it. If half their prospects turn out as expected, they'll be the new Rays.

2011 PREDICTION

Same as it ever was. The Royals will be out of the picture by the All-Star break, and Ned Yost may even worry about his job. The only drama in September will be whether this team loses 100 games. But this time next year, there may be some excitement for 2012.

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 .

 
 
 
 
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