Tag:Hot Stove League
Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:14 pm

Braves claim Joe Mather off waivers

Mather The Braves have claimed outfielder Joe Mather off waivers from the Cardinals, the first step in revamping Atlanta's outfield.

Atlanta has only Matt Diaz, Nate McLouth and Jason Heyward under contract, and Diaz could be on the way out. Either way, Atlanta needs to start bringing in options to start and come off the bench.

Mather, 28, has 211 total plate appearances split between 2008 and 2010 and has a career .233/.287/.415 line. For Triple-A, Mather hit .275/.348/.442 with 10 home runs in 376 plate appearances.

The righty shouldn't be handed a spot on the bench by all means and Atlanta should keep looking at all its options, but if Mather ends up winning a spot, could be a solid right-handed bat off the bench. Atlanta may also be gambling on Mathew reclaiming the power that once made him an intriguing name before suddenly losing it in 2009 thanks to left wrist surgery.

It can sometimes take over a year for a full recovery, so Atlanta may be hoping there's some more pop in the bat that was hidden in 2010. That's a distinct possibility as Mather also cranked 18 doubles, some of which could start going out of the park.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:06 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 3:37 pm

Reds, Arroyo working on a new deal

Bronson Arroyo Although the Reds have picked up Bronson Arroyo's $11 million contract, the two sides are working on a new three-year deal through 2013, Arroyo tells CBSSports.com.

Arroyo went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA last season and has won 70 games in the last five years for the Reds. Perhaps more importantly to the Reds and their young pitching staff, he's pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons.

Reds manager Walt Jocketty had said last month that the team would pick up his option for 2011.

Arroyo had signed a two-year, $25 million extension with the team in February 2007. The Reds acquired Arroyo from Boston in March of 2006 in exchange for Wily Mo Pena.

Arroyo was traded by the Red Sox after signing a three-year, $11.25 million contract, but before ever pitching for Boston on that contract. Earlier this season, Arroyo said he wouldn't give the Reds a "home-town discount" with a below-market contract, "I've made that mistake before," he said.

Just last season, the Reds re-signed Scott Rolen to a three-year deal, restructuring his previous deal, which was through 2010. Rolen is signed through 2012 with the Reds. It looks like Jocketty wants to keep some of his veterans around to help out with the younger players. Arroyo, in particular, has served as mentor to young Reds pitchers such as 2009 first-rounder Mike Leake.

Cincinnati also has a $1.75 million option on outfielder Jonny Gomes it is expected to pick up, while the team is unlikely to pick up options on shortstop Orlando Cabrera and starter Aaron Harang.

UPDATE: The Reds have offcially picked up the options on Arroyo and Gomes, while declining the options on Cabrera and Harang. Jocketty has said the team would like to bring Cabrera back, but at $4 million. The team owed Cabrera $1 million for buying out his contract. Harang was given $2 million to buy out his $12.75 million option.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:02 pm

Beltre declines player option

Beltre Adrian Beltre has declined his option for 2011, something that comes as a shock to no one.

Beltre rebuilt his value in a big way in Boston, cobbling together a monster contract year and should find the free-agent market much more to his liking this offseason as opposed to last year, when he settled for a one-year, $10 million deal along with a player option that started at $5 million and rose to $10 provided he had 640 plate appearances (he ended with 641).

Finishing with a .321/.365/.553 line, plenty of teams will be going after the Dominican, and the Red Sox will have stiff competition coming to keep Beltre in Boston.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:46 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 3:11 pm

Ryan hopes to stay in St. Louis

Ryan Brendan Ryan knows that his season was unacceptable.

"There are some things that need to change and that’s probably going to be offensively,” Ryan said of a year where he hit .223/.279/.294 in 486 plate appearances, absolutely brutal numbers to FoxSportsMidwest.com . “There’s no guarantee that I’ll be back. I don’t know. I really hope I am. I understand it’s a business and I’m going into arbitration here so things could happen but I just don’t know."

Although Ryan has superlative defense, he had a meltdown on defense at one point in May and also had a public run-in with pitcher Chris Carpenter in a season he would like to forget.

“It was pretty disappointing,” Ryan said of a season in which he was behind in spring training due to surgery for the wrist and just never caught up. "I’m still early in my career here but my plan wasn’t to hit .220 or whatever it was. ... At times I had an inconsistent approach. I think some of it definitely got in my head, just getting frustrating and pressing too much. I just wanted it so bad that I got in my own way at times."

Ryan is in line for his first season of arbitration. Had he hit closer to what he did in his first full season in 2009 of .292/.340/.400, he might be looking at a nice raise. Now, he won't make enough money that St. Louis may feel compelled to move the 28-year-old, especially given the Cards have a lack of options in the infield.

That would be OK with Ryan, who wants to remain a Cardinal.

"I think I’ve been very clear that I want to stay a Cardinal as long as they will give me a locker and issue me a jersey, but they’ve got to make all the puzzle pieces work and if it’s because of me, nobody wants to be that guy. I want to feel wanted."

By virtue of his expected salary and lack of options, the Cardinals definitely want Ryan back. Enough to hand him the starting job again? That's to be determined.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:01 pm

Predicting where free agents will land

Baseball is currently in a five-day period where teams have exclusivity to negotiate with players who have become free agents. Sunday at midnight, that period will expire and free up players to talk to any and all teams.

There's plenty to like about this free-agent crop, as the top players at each position is enough to put together a contending team. Plus, there are a good number of nice backup options, too.

Below, you can find Evan Brunell's predictions on where free agents will wind up, going position by position with two names at each position.

Martinez C: Victor Martinez -- Tigers. All the noise surrounding Detroit going hard after Martinez seems legit. It's part of Detroit's M.O., filling a position of desperate need to contend and Martinez is the best option and remains capable of catching. Plus, Detroit has no major block at first or DH for an eventual switch for V-Mart as Alex Avila apprentices.

C: John Buck -- Yankees. Jorge Posada will be receiving most of his at-bats as a DH and Francisco Cervelli certainly can't start. The Yankees will flex their financial muscles on a catcher which they can bring in on a short-term contract who broke out in Toronto last season. It solves the catcher conundrum short term and leaves the long term free for Austin Romine.

Dunn 1B: Adam Dunn -- Cubs. Another popular pairing that makes too much sense. The Cubs need to strike to stay in contention even as they try to get their minor-league system in order and producing over the next couple of seasons. Dunn's defense is minimized now that he's at first, and the Cubs need someone to sky them big flies. (And if the Cubs really are not going after big-name free agents , which I doubt is 100 percent true, I'll tab Dunn to the Athletics .)

1B: Aubrey Huff -- Giants. Unfortunately, while bringing in Huff eventually paid off big time for San Francisco, he is now overrated. With Brandon Belt tearing up the farm, there's no overwhelming reason to give Huff anything close to what he can get on the market. I have a feeling Brian Sabean will do what he always does, signing older players coming off big years to nonsensical contracts. You know it and I know it. Sleeper alert: The Giants move forward with a Mark DeRosa/Travis Ishikawa platoon at first, leaving Huff to land with the Mariners .

Hudson 2B: Orlando Hudson -- Padres. The O-Dog will be on the move again, looking for his fourth team in four seasons, fifth overall. He's long wanted to join the Mets, but Luis Castillo has prevented him from doing so. The Padres plan to contend, but still need the dollars to make sense for who they bring in, and it will for Hudson to plug a vacancy at second with no viable internal options.

2B: Bill Hall -- Twins. Hall is looking for a starting job, but there are those telling him he is best suited as a super utility player. Look for Minnesota to give him a chance at the starting 2B job, but the Twins will love moving him around once they can justify it.

Jeter SS: Derek Jeter -- Yankees. I think a lot of people are going to be a bit surprised by how long the negotiations take. Despite popular sentiment, Brian Cashman is not one to pay someone beyond actual value. What he does have is disposable income that the owners can order him to pay a premium, so Cashman will do just that -- but only at a small premium.

SS: Juan Uribe -- Giants. This is one return that makes sense. Edgar Renteria isn't being brought back, even if he doesn't retire. Pablo Sandoval's struggles at third and Uribe's ability to slide to third as need be will be coveted by San Francisco, and he deserves the deal he'll sign for. It's a very weak market for shortstops, so even those that could be available in a trade (Jason Bartlett?) may have too prohibitive a price.

Beltre 3B: Adrian Beltre -- Angels. Los Angeles makes the big strike here, importing a gifted defender who had a great season with the stick. He won't hit .321 again, but he'll be a signing on the level of Torii Hunter. He's expensive but will produce and help put L.A. back into postseason contention.

3B: Miguel Tejada -- Padres. San Diego was pleased with Tejada's production after acquiring him from Houston and will sign him to play his natural position of short even though he began the transition to third base last season.

Crawford LF: Carl Crawford -- Red Sox . Crawford will spark a bidding war between the Red Sox, Angels and some other team yet to be known, plus a late charge by the Yankees (you know it'll happen). In the end, the Red Sox will win out, offering just enough to entice Crawford to Boston.

LF: Marcus Thames -- Phillies. Thames built his value this past year, establishing himself as a strong platoon option against left-handers who surprisingly held his own against righties. The Phillies are interested in bringing in another right-handed hitter to pair with Ben Francisco, and Thames seems like the perfect low-cost, high-upside option.

Damon CF: Johnny Damon -- Astros. Damon may be a center fielder, but it's in name only as he's restricted to left and DH at this point of his career. No contending team is going to be interested in starting him, but he can still land somewhere where there's a faint glimmer of a chance at the postseason. Damon can be the grizzled, scrappy veteran who can lead them to the top. Welcome to Houston, Johnny!

CF: Melky Cabrera -- Royals. Cabrera's stock is down. Way, way down. He'll have to latch on with a bottom-feeding club who gambles on his tools. Kansas City seems like the perfect place to do that. With an up-and-coming farm, he could fit in seamlessly if he takes his job seriously. If he doesn't, the Royals simply move on.

Werth RF: Jayson Werth -- White Sox. It makes a lot of sense for the White Sox to go after Werth -- they have their own bandbox and need someone who can play the outfield and who could DH in his off days. Carlos Quentin's defense needs to be hidden or moved to first if they don't bring Paul Konerko back. Helping matters is Chicago has the money to make it happen.

RF: Andruw Jones -- Braves. Coming off a strong season for the White Sox where he proved he can still bring it, just not quite as a full-time outfielder (although that possibility does exist), Jones seems like he could make a return to Atlanta. The Braves have a need to remake their outfield, and Jones seems to be a perfect piece of the puzzle.

Thome DH: Jim Thome -- Twins. No reason for Thome to leave the Twins, really. He had a strong season there, became a cult hero, has been loyal to his teams and Minnesota definitely could use this slugger back provided the two can agree on how much playing time he will get. Having Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau doesn't leave much room for Thome, but it worked out just fine in 2010.

DH: Manny Ramirez -- Rays . Manny is a DH and probably will find the market a bit hostile towards him. He's not upper-echelon any longer, but not many teams need a DH. After long and overdrawn-out negotiations thanks to Scott Boras, ManRam will finally sign around the beginning of spring training and coast into town to help the Rays and what could be a moribund offense.

Pavano RHSP: Carl Pavano -- Brewers. Pavano is set to cash in on his success with the Twins and is certain to be in a position where he can outdo accepting arbitration thanks to a poor right-handed starter's market. Milwaukee needs to find starting pitching and fast, and the Brewers proved last year with Randy Wolf they weren't afraid to go get it. Wolf's struggles won't be enough to deter Milwaukee from Pavano, not when a Wolf-Pavano-Yovani Gallardo rotation would do wonders in the NL Central.

RHSP: Hiroki Kuroda -- Dodgers. Kuroda's been a bit overlooked on the national stage, as he truly is a strong pitcher. The Dodgers want -- need -- to contend, so they'll make sure Kuroda goes nowhere. They do need to slash salary, but a lot of that was tied up in Manny Ramirez, so there's plenty for Kuroda.

Lee LHSP: Cliff Lee -- Rangers. Buy into Texas being players for Lee and Lee eschewing the bright lights of New York just as long as the money is there. And it will be. The wife likes having him close to home, he's going to be on a contending team and get his money. There isn't much reason to move to New York.

LHSP: Jorge De La Rosa -- Tigers. Detroit has money to spend and a need in the rotation. De la Rosa will flirt with quite a few teams, Yankees included, but it's Detroit who will step up. It needs a strong pitcher in the rotation to have any hope of contending, and de la Rosa falls right into the bracket the Tigers are comfortable with.

Soriano RHRP: Rafael Soriano -- Angels . L.A. has said all the right things in moving forward with Fernando Rodney as a closer after moving Brian Fuentes, but the Angels bullpen was in tatters all season and Rodney is not good enough to block Soriano, who is one of the best closers in the game but will find a rough market.

RHRP: Joaquin Benoit -- Rays . Benoit's price tag is going to be high, but the Rays will be faced with a barren bullpen. Why not bring back someone they know can do it for them? They can entice Benoit with the possibility -- probability -- about taking over as closer.

LHRP: Scott Downs -- Red Sox. Downs is a Type-A free agent, but Boston will gladly fork over its second-rounder after Crawford gives Tampa Bay its first-rounder. The Red Sox want to beef up their bullpen after years of trolling through cast-offs. Downs has been coveted for a while, and Boston will take the plunge.

LHRP: Brian Fuentes -- Marlins. Florida wants to contend, but needs some help in the bullpen to do so. Knowing the Fish, they won't be looking to spend big at the position, but Fuentes is a nice, safe and affordable pick to be the new closer they want.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: November 3, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: November 3, 2010 2:47 pm

A's pick up option on Crisp

Crisp Who needs mass media when Athletics can take things into their own hands on Twitter?

"I'm happy, I just found out today that the A's are picking up my option for 2011," Coco Crisp tweeted early Wednesday.

Crisp, the former Indian, Red Sox and Royal, had a $5.75 million option that Oakland unsurprisingly picked up after his most successful offensive season since leaving Cleveland after the 2005 season. Although Crisp missed time due to injury (shocker), he hit .279/.342/.438 in 329 plate appearances and provided his usual excellent defense in his first season with Oakland.

Oakland has a glut of outfielders, but none were the quality of Crisp. He figures to be flanked by Ryan Sweeney in right and a hybrid of Chris Carter and Rajai Davis in left. Oakland could yet still bring in another outfielder as well.

UPDATE : The A's have confirmed Crisp's option was picked up, adding that second baseman Mark Ellis also had his $6 million option picked up. Ellis is a defensive wizard, offers leadership and finished with a team-best .291 batting average.

In other news, the A's cut ties with Eric Chavez, bringing an end to what may have been the worst contract signed in franchise history. After Chavez posted an OPS of no lower than .850 in the five seasons preceding 2005, he signed a six-year, $66 million deal and appeared in just 451 games over these six years, hitting .249/.322/.434. Chavez is likely to retire at age 32 after suffering major injuries the last few years.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:02 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 2:47 pm

Phillies could target Rowand, Ordonez

The Phillies may bring back a former postseason hero to serve as their new right-handed outfielder.

Rowand Aaron Rowand, who just won a ring with the Giants, is a name that has come up for Philadelphia to target, as SI.com's Jon Heyman reports. The deal would be contingent on the Giants eating a significant portion of his remaining salary -- $24 million over the next two years. Given Rowand has been squeezed out of a starting spot, the Giants should be motivated to eat the contract to a certain degree and ship him out.

Except that Rowand has been brutal against left-handers for two years and is largely limited to just center field and possibly left, but not right. Philly needs a right-fielder.

That's out.

Ordonez Heyman also tabs Magglio Ordonez as another target, which might be a savvy move. Ordonez could be had for one or two years at a solid salary but not outlandish and could give Philadelphia the right-handed power bat it needs as Domonic Brown eases into a starting role. Ordonez could shift to left to replace Raul Ibanez when Ibanez sits or eventually leaves the organization.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com