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Tag:Reds
Posted on: July 28, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Trade deadline profile: Scott Downs

Leading up to Saturday's trade deadline, the MLB Facts & Rumors team takes a look at the biggest names on the trade block. Wednesday examines perhaps the best reliever on the market, Toronto's Scott Downs.

Scott Downs Career stats: 26-28, 3.80 ERA, 359 G, 50 GS, 551 2/3 IP, 204 BB, 433 K
2010 stats : 4-5, 2.34 ERA, 47 G, 42 1/3 IP, 10 BB, 35 K
Contract status: Signed a three-year, $10 million contract for the 2008 season. Making $4 million on the year and is an impending free agent who stands to be Type A.

Why he's desirable
At 35 years old, Downs doesn't exactly have many years remaining in him. However, the former starter-turned-reliever has emerged as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Over the last four seasons from 2007-10, Downs has appeared in 242 games, posting a 2.27 ERA.

Of non-closers, that's the second-best ERA of any reliever with at least 150 games over the same time period -- Arthur Rhodes has a 2.10 ERA in 174 games (128 1/3 innings). Rhodes, however, missed the entire 2007 season due to injury.

Including closers and Rhodes, Downs has the sixth-lowest ERA in the bigs since 2007 (Mariano Rivera, Rhodes, Joakim Soria, Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner). In short: He's good.

Why he's available
The Blue Jays are a rebuilding club, their seemingly-annual first-half run of success notwithstanding. The team is 12 games behind the Yankees, fourth in the AL East with a dwindling 52-49 record. With Downs an impending free agent and a strong market for quality arms in a quality-depleted environment, Downs is a hot commodity. He can bring back a strong prospect that can further Toronto's rebuilding efforts. And let's get real -- when the Jays are ready to seriously contend, Downs could very well be retired.

Scott Downs Who is interested
The Yankees and Red Sox seem most hot after Downs services, as both AL beasts are contending with left-handed relief struggles as well as poor bullpen performance overall. While the Yankees and Red Sox should be considered forerunners, the list of suitors for Downs is expansive. Among the suitors are: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Rockies and Twins.

Of that list, it's tough to imagine the Mets and Rockies pulling off a deal. The Mets are falling behind the division race and recent reports have the Mets seeking an underpriced reliever. The Rockies, for their part, are also slipping out of the race and may choose to stand pat now that they've gotten Troy Tulowitzki back. Philadelphia is in a similar position with many injured and the Braves pulling away in the East.

The Twins are more interested in a starting pitcher, but could choose to bolster the bullpen instead. The Dodgers have some space to add payroll at the deadline, but like the Twins, are more focused on starting pitching. The back of the Reds' bullpen is fairly thin, so Downs could combine with Rhodes for to bring two shut-down lefties to the NL Central race.

UPDATE: The Giants are also in on Downs, but they figure to focus on acquiring a bat.

Expected return
The Blue Jays are asking for a ridiculous amount in return for Downs. As a potential Type-A free agent, Downs can bring back a first-round pick plus a complementary pick after the first round, provided the Jays offer arbitration. Even if Downs accepts, he would make in the neighborhood of around $4-6 million for 2011, a more than affordable deal for such a prime shut-down reliever.

George King of the New York Post reports that the Jays asked the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, an exorbitantly high price for a middle reliever about to become a free agent. GM Brian Cashman of the Yankees had previously made Montero available in a deal for Cliff Lee but maintains that was the only player on the market Montero would have been swapped for.

The Jays also had a high price for the Red Sox, requesting either starting pitcher Casey Kelly or shortstop Jose Iglesias in return for Scott Downs. You can bet Theo pressed the "end call" button on his cell phone seconds after that request. Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that the Jays have been heavily scouting Roman Mendez of Boston. Mendez is currently pitching for low Class-A Lowell.

While a prospect the caliber of Montero, Kelly or Iglesias is simply impossible to happen, the Jays can definitely extract a blue-chipper with an intriguing profile -- ala Mendez -- for Downs and could even haggle a second prospect out of the interested team. The only question is if it will be enough for Toronto to trade in the division. None of the other suitors seem remotely close or as interested in Downs as Boston or New York.

What happens
The guess here is that while the Jays like Mendez and move to acquire him, the Yankees will sweep in with an offer just good enough to bring Downs in. New York has designs on a second straight World Series, but that won't happen with a bullpen as porous as it currently is. It needs massive upgrading, and Downs is the salve to the Bronx Bombers' open wound.

More trade deadline targets -- Jorge Cantu | Roy Oswalt

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 27, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:02 pm
 

Heyward, Strasburg to finally meet


Jason Heyward If you hear the world explode tonight, it's because of the awesomeness that is the meeting of Stephen Strasburg and Jason Heyward.

The world was cheated out of this opportunity last month, but now the ultimate meeting should take place tonight in Washington, D.C.

Heyward missed the last meeting when kryptonite jammed his left thumb and sent him to the disabled list, meaning the Braves didn't have a chance on June 28 (well, despite the fact they won the game).

This time, though, it's awesome on awesome as Heyward will be in the lineup.

"It's always great to face good pitchers; it's always great to face the best," Heyward told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 's Carroll Rogers . "That's what the major leagues are about."

In what is unthinkable, Rogers notes the two actually have competition for the National League Rookie of the Year. Sure, the safe money is on Strasburg finishing first and Heyward second, but there's also Florida's Gaby Sanchez, St. Louis' Jaime Garcia, San Francisco's Buster Posey, Chicago's Starlin Castro and Cincinnati's Mike Leake.

NL's top rookies
Stephen Strasburg 5-2 2.32 ERA 75 Ks, 15 BB
Jaime Garcia 9-4 2.21 ERA 90 Ks, 43 BB
Mike Leake 7-2 3.57 ERA 76 Ks, 43 BB
Jason Heyward .276/.387/.459 11 HR, 48 RBI
Gaby Sanchez .301/.364/.472 11 HR, 45 RBI
Buster Posey .368/.404/.571 8 HR, 33 RBI
Starlin Castro .309/.360/.449 3 HR, 31 RBI

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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




Posted on: July 26, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am
 

This week in free stuff: July 26-August 1

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

Tonight, July 26
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) -- Andy Tracy bobblehead
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- mustache giveaway. Who doesn't love mustaches?
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) --kids batting glove giveaway. I love that they're going old school and just one. Ask your parents, kids.
Bristol White Sox (Appalachian League) -- kids batting helmet. Another old-school favorite.

Tuesday, July 27
Washington Nationals -- t-shirt. A classic, grey shirt. I hate when teams try to go too fancy and do some lame busy design, the simpler, the better.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) --Magic 8 Baseball. This is just awesome. It'd be great if they made the manager use this for all their decisions on the night. Bill Veeck woulda done it. This would have been my favorite of the day…
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)-- mustache giveaway. It must be a trend.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- Jared Weaver kids t-shirt jersey
Fredrick Keys (Carolina League) Bryan Voltaggio bobblehead. Who is Bryan Voltaggio you ask? Only the runner-up from Top Chef Season 6. If it were a Kevin Gillespie bobblehead, I'd drive there for it.
Princeton Rays (Rookie Appalachian League) --super mug. Apparently, it's a mug and it's super.

Wednesday, July 28
Houston Astros -- orange retro cap. The team wore those glorious 80s uniforms on Saturday, and now it's the orange hats. If only the Astros could skip the 90s and 2000s uniforms and pick one of the great old ones.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League)  --golf umbrella
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) --reusable grocery bag

Thursday, July 29
New York Mets -- umbrella
Joe Biden Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) -- Joe Biden bobblehead. It'd be really cool if it was a one of those that talked and it cussed at you.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- Goonies night. While not technically a giveaway, and I usually do just giveaways, but this one is too cool not to share. The BlueClaws are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Goonies, with Jeff Cohen (Chunk) at the game, signing autographs and judging a Truffle Shuffle contest.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) County Executive Kathy Jimino bobblehead. Good for you, Kathy.

Friday, July 30
St. Louis Cardinals -- Vince Coleman bobblehead. No fireworks, though.
San Francisco Giants --Beat LA beach towel
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) nutcracker -- I'm not normally a fan of Christmas in July promotions, but the Flying Squirrels giving out nutcrackers is awesome.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- camouflage hat
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina League) -- christmas ornament
Potomac Nationals (Carolina League) -- mini bat
Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League) Big L soap dispenser. I'm seriously considering going to this. I love giveaways of practical items, and this is a good one.
Clinton LumberKings (Midwest League) -- John Danks bobblehead
Boise Hawks (Northwest League) -- Boise Whistle Pigs T-shirt. Part of Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Night, honoring one of the other finalists for nickname of the team.

Saturday, July 31
Cincinnati Reds -- Homer Bailey bobblehead
Kansas City Royals -- Kansas City Monarchs cap. I love Negro League tributes, and Kansas City, home to the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, always does a good job.
Los Angeles Angels -- Rally Monkey soap dispenser. OK, forget the Lexington Legends… I'll be hitting eBay for this batboy.
Washington Nationals -- Nyjer Morgan bobblehead. Really, it's great for the stirrups if nothing else.
Houston Astros -- Jeff Bagwell bobblehead
St. Louis Cardinals -- Whitey Herzog bobblehead
Colorado Rockies -- Jason Giambi t-shirt. With sleeves, oddly enough.
San Diego Padres -- Clayton Richard bobblehead
Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League) --  Buster Posey bobblehead
Carolina Mudcats (Southern League) -- pint glass
Arkansas Travelers (Texas Leage) -- Hank Conger bobbleheads
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas Leage) -- Hooks retro jersey. Which is  odd, since the franchise has only been around since 2005. It's more old-school Astros style, which I'm always in favor of.
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- Cardinals/Royals I-70 Series throwback shirts. The Cardinals are playing the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals' AA affiliate.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (South Atlantic League) -- Farmer Axle Bobblehead
Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn league) --  William Seward bobblehead. The team is honoring the former governor of New York and Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward also helped procure Alaska and was blasted for it at the time.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- sleeved blanket. Yeah, not a Snuggie.
Greenville Astros (Appalachian League) -- aluminum bottle

Sunday, Aug. 1
Minnesota Twins -- Target Field bat
St. Louis Cardinals -- Ozzie Smith bear. This is in honor of the 1985 NL championship, but I'm disappointed there's no Willie McGee bobblehead. Really, if anyone is screaming for a bobblehead, it's McGee.
Harrisburg Seantors (Eastern League) -- autographed baseball grab bag
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) --  wooden bat
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) kids fielding gloves
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- skate deck
Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) -- Kevin Slowey bobblehead
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- dog bowl
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League) --  Heidi Watney bobblehead. A bobblehead for the NESN Red Sox reporter.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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



Posted on: July 26, 2010 4:43 pm
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Posted on: July 26, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 4:41 pm
 

Red Sox ratings falling


Is the Red Sox bandwagon getting boring?

For the first time since 2003, the Red Sox don't lead Major League Baseball in local television ratings.

The Sports Business Journal has the latest numbers , and the Red Sox have dropped to fifth, behind the Cardinals, Twins, Phillies and Reds. The bottom five of the ratings are the White Sox, Dodgers, Nationals, Angels and A's.

The Nationals aren't last in ratings for the first time since they moved to Washington in 2005. The Nationals are aided by the Stephen Strasburg effect -- the team has an average rating of 1.34, but jumps to 4.4 when Strasburg starts.

The Red Sox find themselves behind the Yankees and Rays, eight games out of first in the American League East.

The Cardinals are the new top team in ratings, and that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. St. Louis is the country's best baseball town and has its most loyal and educated baseball fans. The Cardinals are also third in average rating per radio broadcast, behind the Reds and Tigers.

Ratings of national games on Fox, ESPN and Turner are all about the same as last year.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 26, 2010 11:50 am
 

Don't eat at a stadium in Florida


If you're one of the five people going to Tampa Bay Rays games, make sure you pack a lunch.

According to a report by ESPN's Outside the Lines, 100 percent of vendors at Tropicana Field were found  in violation of health department regulations. ESPN has a great map here to find your local stadium, checking the reviews for all MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA homes.

In all, don't eat in Florida. Of the professional sports venues in the state, the best -- and that's used very loosely -- was BankAtlantic Center (home of the Florida Panthers of the NHL) with 67 percent of vendors being shown in violation. As for the other big-league park, Sun Life Stadium (the latest name of the former Joe Robbie Stadium) had a 93 percent violation rate.

What should be noted is that standards are not uniform, what would be a violation one place may not be a violation in another. And some places, such as Chicago, the inspections were done on days with no event, with no food being served or workers present.

In Arizona (at Jobing.com Arena, home of the Coyotes), inspectors discovered an ice cream vendor using his hands to scoop ice cream -- that's not just unhealthy, but it's also freakin' cold. How could you do that more than once? And do you dig your fingernails into ice cream to break it up? How about at Yankee Stadium, where your Chivas Regal comes with dead fruit flies? At Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, a worker scraped off a spatula on a trash bin and then continued using it without washing it.

But hey, if eating a hot dog that's shot out of an air gun is wrong, I'm not so sure I want to be right.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 25, 2010 9:56 pm
 

Jays asking high price on relievers

Scott Downs The relief market may have just heated up in Boston.

Hideki Okajima continued his worst major-league season to date and was directly responsible for giving up three runs in a Mariners rally on Sunday.

That might be good news for the Blue Jays, who have Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg on the market. Downs would give the Red Sox a second lefty in the bullpen -- and their only reliable one. The Jays, however, are asking a ton for Downs.

As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says , the price is so high that the Dodgers went scurrying away.

Other teams named in the hunt for one or more of the Jays relievers include the Yankees, Mets, Reds and Twins, says Rosenthal's co-writer, Jon Paul Morosi. None of these names comes as a surprise -- virtually every team in contention every year is always in the market to add more relief pitching.

Toronto won't give away any for pennies on the dollar, though. Frasor is a free agent after the year and should theoretically be the easiest to get. By the same token, however, he's not as sought after as Gregg or Downs. Gregg has an affordable club option for 2011 -- and potentially one for 2012 as well. He's had a successful year closing for the Jays.

Downs, a lefty, has been one of the best setup men in the game for a while and will likely qualify as a Type A free agent. This means that if he signs with another team, the Jays could potentially get a first-round and complementary pick after the first round. That's keeping Downs' price up as even accepting arbitration wouldn't make Downs' 2011 salary prohibitive for Toronto. Understandably, then, they are asking a significant amount.

A deal can't get done, though, if Toronto doesn't realize that for all of Downs' talents, he's a reliever. You don't trade top prospects for a reliever unless young and extremely good -- like Joakim Soria. Downs' value is suppressed somewhat by saves, but he's still better than some of the closers in the game.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 24, 2010 8:15 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 8:15 pm
 

Scouts watching Oswalt won't like what they see

Roy Oswalt The Houston Chronicle reports that scouts from the Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals -- all connected to the pursuit for the Astros' Roy Oswalt -- were on hand for Oswalt's start Saturday against Cincinnati.

There are scouts from multiple teams at every major-league game for various purposes, so it's not usually wise to read too much into the presence of a team. But in any case, all eyes are surely on Oswalt as the trade deadline approaches. And Oswalt didn't exactly help his cause against the Reds, giving up six runs in the first three innings, including homers by Joey Votto and Ramon Hernandez. He's only given up more than six runs in a start once this season.

Meanwhile, there are indications the Astros are playing hardball on the return package for Oswalt, asking for both major-league ready players and prospects. Considering the financial commitment the acquiring team will have to make for the rest of Oswalt's contract, that's a lot to ask for any player. It's conceivable that Oswalt won't be traded at all.

-- David Andriesen

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



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