Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Justin Verlander wins AL MVP



By Matt Snyder


Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander had a historic season for several reasons, and you can now add MVP and Cy Young in the same season to the list. He won the American League MVP, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Monday afternoon. Verlander becomes the first starting pitcher to win MVP since Roger Clemens took home the honors all the way back in 1986. This also marks the first time any pitcher has won since 1992, when A's closer Dennis Eckersley won. This marks the 10th time a pitcher has won both the MVP and Cy Young in the same season.

"Not even in my wildest dreams had I thought of this," Verlander said. "I want to say this is a dream come true. I can't say that because my dream had already had come true ... to win a Cy Young. And the next dream is to win a World Series. This wasn't even on my radar until the talk started. And then all of a sudden it was a this-could-actually-happen type of thing."

Verlander, 28, was clearly the best pitcher in baseball in 2011. He went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings. He had four complete games, two shutouts and one no-hitter. He led the American League in wins, winning percentage, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, ERA-plus and hits per nine innings.

Verlander racking up awards
The only real question as to whether or not Verlander would win the award was based upon his position. Pitchers only work once every fifth day, so many argued that they shouldn't be allowed to win an award that is traditionally given to players who are seen in the lineup every single game. But Verlander was so good it was tough to ignore. And he tied Jose Bautista with 8.5 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

"I think that a starting pitcher has to do something special to be as valuable or more so than a position player," Verlander said. "Obviously, having the chance to play in 160-some games in the case of Miguel, they can obviously have a huge impact every day. That's why, I've talked about on my day, on a pitcher's day, the impact we have is tremendous on that game. So you have to have a great impact almost every time out to supersede (position players) and it happens on rare occasions, and I guess this year was one of those years."

This vote was probably the most intriguing of all the BBWAA votes this season because it felt wide open. Should pitchers be allowed to win? Can a player on a fourth-place team be considered valuable? Can a player on a team who had a historic collapse down the stretch win? There were arguments all over the place for the last six weeks of the season. Here's how the final vote stacked up, with the final points in parentheses:

1. Verlander (280)
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (242)
3. Bautista (231)
4. Curtis Granderson (215)
5. Miguel Cabrera (193)
6. Robinson Cano (112)
7. Adrian Gonzalez (105)
8. Michael Young (96)
9. Dustin Pedroia (48)
10. Evan Longoria (27)

In order: Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Paul Konerko, CC Sabathia, Adrian Beltre, Ben Zobrist, Victor Martinez, James Shields, Mark Teixeira, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton and David Robertson also received votes.

Verlander received 13 of the 28 first-place votes. Bautista got five, Ellsbury, four; Granderson, three; Miguel Cabrera, two and Young got one first-place vote. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News gave Young his lone MVP vote.

One voter, Jim Ingraham of the Lake Herald News (Cleveland) completely left Verlander off the ballot. Via the Associated Press, here was Ingraham's rationale:

"I'd wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year," Ingraham said. "He hasn't appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn't appear in 79 percent of his team's games in a year.

"Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team's 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that's part of it. Another part of it is I think they're apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there's a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn't, I don't think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games."

Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal gave Verlander an eighth-place vote while both Chad Jennings of the Journal News (New York) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle voted him sixth.

Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt by a 10th place vote from Scot Gregor of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Chicago).

Other pitchers to win MVP and Cy Young in the same year were Don Newcombe (1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), Bob Gibson, Denny McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981) and Willie Hernandez (1984).

This is the ninth time a Tigers player has won the MVP. The others: Mickey Cochrane (1934), Hank Greenberg (1935), Charlie Gehringer (1937), Greenberg (1940), Hal Newhouser (1944), Newhouser (1945), McLain (1968) and Hernandez (1984).

The National League MVP will be revealed Tuesday. It's likely to be either Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, but a few others will factor heavily in the voting.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Report: Two clubs interested in Huston Street

By Matt Snyder

This just in: Rockies closer Huston Street is on the trade market. Yeah, you've heard that before. So let's dive right into the latest rumor.

The Orioles and Blue Jays are taking a look at the right-handed closer, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. Rosenthal also throws Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie in the mix as a possible match. It's worth noting there are likely a lot more than two teams interested in Street, but we're just talking about this particular rumor for now.

The Blue Jays' name being here is pretty obvious. They don't have an established closer and are looking like they have a shot at contending in 2012. So let's just focus on the Orioles part.

Hot Stove
The O's do have Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg in house. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter reportedly wants Johnson in the rotation and it's very reasonable to believe the Orioles don't want to leave Kevin Gregg as the closer. It was pretty stupid to sign him in the first place, but what's done is done and it's a new administration. Moving forward, Street could help the Orioles fill a need, if Johnson is indeed moved to the rotation.

Street, 28, saved 29 of 33 chances last season with a 3.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He's been one of the better closers in baseball a few seasons, but consistency has been an issue. Still, he's better than Gregg, there's no question about that.

Johnson, 28, was a valuable member of the Orioles' bullpen last season, saving nine games with a 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 91 innings.

Meanwhile, the Rockies could use starting pitching help and Guthrie is a fit. He has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past three seasons. He's had a good ERA three of the past five seasons, but his win-loss record is awful due to playing for the Orioles. On a good team, he's definitely got the chance to be a serviceable middle-of-the-rotation guy. And if the Rockies deal Street, they feel comfortable with Rafael Betancourt as the closer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Blue Jays reveal familiar 'new' logo, uniforms



By Matt Snyder


Long-time fans of the Toronto Blue Jays will likely be quite excited at the new look of their Jays for the 2012 season -- seen here, modeled by MVP candidate Jose Bautista. Friday, the Blue Jays unveiled this new logo and uniform set, and it's a "modernized" version of the logo/uniforms they had from 1977-1997, meaning it was donned by their two World Series championship ballclubs and the majority of the Blue Jays' greats. Perhaps most importantly for those who love nostalgia, the red maple leaf is back as is the prominence of the color blue and the "aggressive" Blue Jay bird on the cap.

"Updating our original logo, the strong affinity to go back to 'Blue' and returning the red Maple Leaf to the primary mark recognizes the classic look of which we feel baseball logos and uniforms should consist," Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said in a statement. "This new look represents what the Blue Jays mean to our players, staff and most importantly, from the sentiment expressed by our fans.

"The uniforms truly capture the essence of the Blue Jays vision, showing our strong commitment to our country as Canada's only Major League Baseball Club."

It was definitely weird not seeing much "blue" or "jay" (the bird itself) on the uniforms the past several years -- I mean, what if the Cardinals didn't have any actual Cardinals and went more maroon than red? -- and bringing back the maple leaf is a nice touch. They didn't definitely have to use the old logo and uniforms, but if they couldn't come up with what they felt was a better design, there's nothing wrong with going retro.

And if you're so excited to purchase some of the gear, here you go, via a Blue Jays press release:
The new uniforms and new logo merchandise is available starting today at Jays Shop locations exclusively until November 23. Jays Shop at Rogers Centre Gate 5 (416.341.2904) will be open extended hours this weekend from 10am to 9pm. Jays Shop at Sears Yonge & Dundas (416.349.7111 ext. 5103) is open Sears store hours. Fans can also visit www.jaysshop.ca or call 1.877.JaysShop (877.529.7746) to order.
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Posted on: November 16, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Report: Red Sox have made an offer to Ortiz

David Ortiz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems to be just a matter of time -- and money -- before David Ortiz re-signs with the Red Sox. Boston has already made an offer to the designated hitter, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports.

However there seems to be some difference between the two sides, because no agreement has come out yet. Still, expect to see Big Papi back with the Red Sox, as there are few openings at the spot available -- and even fewer teams willing to open their pocketbook for a DH.

The Blue Jays and Orioles could use a DH, but Bradford quotes Orioles GM Dan Duquette as calling Oritz " a luxury item" and Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous noted the DH spot isn't a priority for his squad.

Last week, Boston GM Ben Cherington said he wanted Ortiz back with the Red Sox.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:31 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Tuesday rumor roundup from GM Meetings

By Matt Snyder

With baseball's annual general manager meetings taking place in Milwaukee, there are many rumors floating around. Here's what CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler -- who is there -- heard Tuesday.

• The Yankees have met with Bob Garber, who is the agent for free agent starting pitchers C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt. The two sides are in preliminary discussions about both players, but several other teams are obviously still in play.

• The Red Sox are going to interview an unnamed candidate for a second time. Dale Sveum is also getting a second interview and several have speculated he's the front-runner.

• The Nationals need a center fielder and some other pieces, but are primarily focusing on one veteran starting pitcher. They're in on Wilson, Oswalt and Mark Buehrle. And we know they aren't shy when it comes to spending money (Exhibit A: Jayson Werth). Adding one of these guys to a rotation with young guns Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann would give the Nats a very strong rotation. The Nationals also wouldn't rule out any of the big-name offensive free agents (Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes), but it's much more likely they go pitching.

• The Orioles don't have near as much money to spend as some people thought they'd have. "We have to be smarter and work harder," new general manager Dan Duquette said. It looks like a payroll in the range of $90 million, which is an increase, but not a gigantic one. They opened last season with just over $85 million in player salaries.

• The Brewers have big reservations on signing Rafael Furcal and probably can't make a serious run at Jose Reyes, so don't be surprised if they bring back Yuniesky Betancourt to play shortstop. Also, Knobler told me it sounds like "the longest of longshots" Prince Fielder is back next season.

• Expect the owners to approve the sale of the Astros Thursday, and the move will also result in the Astros moving to the American League, starting in 2013. This will result in two 15-team leagues and interleague play all season.

• The Collective Bargaining Agreement will not be announced during the meetings. It will come Friday at the earliest, but don't worry, it's going to get done.

Here are some other notes from the meetings, compiled from other reporters:

• The Mets won't likely offer a six-year contract to Jose Reyes, Andy Martino of the Daily News reports. This isn't all too surprising but it's worth noting because the Marlins have reportedly offered Reyes six years and $90 million.

• The Reds are one of many teams that have contacted the Braves about All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens, but it's going to take "a ton" to land him, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com.

David Ortiz really wants to stay in Boston and will let the Red Sox match any offer he gets on the open market (Boston Herald).

Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays, Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, and Mets are all suitors for free agent closer Francisco Cordero. He's been a bit overshadowed in this free agency class by the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell and Ryan Madson, but Cordero has some serious pedigree as a closer. Only Mariano Rivera has more career saves among active players than Cordero.

• The Twins are interested in Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, and that interest would heighten if Michael Cuddyer signs elsewhere (Star Tribune).

Hat-tips: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 8:29 pm
 

Manager interviews finishing for Cubs, Cards, Sox

Sandy Alomar Jr.By C. Trent Rosecrans

The interviews, it seems, are done for the three managerial openings. The Cubs, Cardinals and Red Sox are all done with their first round of interviews and it appears the hirings could come relatively soon.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Cardinals' next manager will come from one of the six candidates the team interviewed. The Cardinals interviewed former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Ryne Sandberg, third base coach Jose Oquendo, former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny, Triple-A manager Chris Maloney and White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing.

"I'm fairly confident that it will," Mozeliak told Goold when asked if the team's next manager would come from that list.

That does not mean there will not be further questions asked of any of those six, but it doesn't appear that a surprise candidate will emerge.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer wasn't quite as definitive about his team's next manager coming from the list of four interviews that they have already conducted.

"I wouldn't guarantee that it is (the entire list), but we feel really good about the four guys we brought in," Hoyer told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "We had four very good interviews. I wouldn't rule out an additional candidate, but it's not a certainty."

The team interviewed Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. on Friday. It has also interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.

The "additional candidate" could be Francona. Hoyer said Theo Epstein has already talked to Francona, and with the history between the two, a formal interview wouldn't be a necessity. There's also Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was the other finalist when Epstein hired Francona in Boston. Maddon's resume would certainly make an interview unnecessary, although the Cubs would have to work out a deal with the Rays for compensation -- something they've still been unable to accomplish with the Red Sox.

As far as Francona's successor in Boston, Alomar, Sveum and Mackanin have already interviewed with the Red Sox. Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo interviewed on Friday and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont will interview on Saturday. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters after Louvullo's post-interview news conference that the team had no plans on bringing in additional candidates after interviewing Lamont on Saturday. He also added that the team had not been formally turned down by another other organization when seeking permission to interview candidates.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Madson's deal sets the market for Papelbon



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan Madson has to be pretty happy with the reported four-year, $44 million deal he's set to receive from the Phillies, but he's not the only one. Jonathan Papelbon can't be too torn up by the deal, either.

If Madson is worth $11 million a year, Papelbon -- slightly younger with better stats and more experience -- should be looking at at least $13 million per season.

Hot Stove Season

Of course, there's going to be one less big-money team bidding for his services, but there should due enough out there that allows Papelbon to cash in as the market's top free agent closer.

Madson, 31, has less than a full season of closing under his belt, taking over in Philadelphia after Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras went down with injuries at the start of the season. Madson excelled in the role -- one he didn't do so well in earlier in his career -- recording 32 saves with a 2.37 ERA in 62 appearances. He struck out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings and walked just 16 (eight intentionally). Madson has 52 saves and a 3.59 ERA in 491 career appearances since his debut as a 22-year-old late in the 2003 season.

Papelbon, who will turn 31 later this month, has 219 career saves with a 2.33 ERA, recording 31 saves with a 2.94 ERA in 2011. Papelbon struck out 87 batters in 64 1/3 innings, walking just 10 and recording a WHIP of 0.933. He's also pitched his entire seven-year career in the pressure-packed AL East.

While the Red Sox and Phillies are the two biggest teams in need of a closer this offseason, the Phillies now are out of the market, leaving Boston as the likely frontrunner (as if it wasn't before). The Blue Jays and Nationals are also looking for a closer and could be looking to spend some money. There's another two wild cards -- the Rangers if Neftali Feliz is moved into the rotation and the Marlins depending on who the whole Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo situation plays out.

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

Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Buehrle popular on free agent market

By Matt Snyder

Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has pitched 12 seasons for the White Sox, but he may be heading to a new address in free agency this offseason. And there's no shortage of suitors. Multiple outlets have reported that Buehrle is meeting with the Marlins Tuesday, but they aren't alone in their pursuit. According to Fox Sports, the Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees all have interest in Buehrle, while the Blue Jays are looking for starting pitching as well. The report didn't specifically say the Jays were among the Buehrle suitors, but if they need pitching they'll surely at least kick the tires.

The Yankees would greatly benefit from adding Buehrle behind CC Sabathia, and lefties fare better in Yankee Stadium. The Marlins need pitching depth and are looking to make a strong push in free agency with a new ballpark set to open. Plus, Ozzie Guillen had previously managed Buehrle in Chicago and he's now the Marlins' skipper. The Rangers likely have Buehrle in their sights in case C.J. Wilson signs elsewhere and the Red Sox, well, we know how badly they need better pitching.

Hot Stove Season
The interest in Buehrle makes sense. Not only is he a left-hander, but he's as durable as they come. He's made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 201 innings in each of the past 11 seasons. Because he doesn't rely on velocity, Buehrle's skills shouldn't deteriorate much as he ages, either. The four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover isn't an ace, but he'd be a strong two or three in most rotations. And while it seems like he's old since he's been around for so long, Buehrle's only 32.

We've previously passed along that Buehrle is open to any team, and it looks like he'll have plenty of choices.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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