Tag:Phillies
Posted on: August 6, 2010 1:38 am
Edited on: August 6, 2010 1:50 am
 

Bad calls even out for Braves?

Bad calls giveth and bad calls taketh away.

Certainly more than a couple of Braves fans are lamenting Bob Davidson's awful call and the chance for the Braves to add a game to their lead in the National League East, as Davidson gave the Phillies another chance -- and Carlos Ruiz capitalized.

Maybe it's just a case of things evening out for Atlanta. In June, the Braves were on the receiving end of a bad call. Remember Gary Cederstrom admitted he blew a call in a Braves-Tigers game?

With the Braves leading by a run with bases loaded, a full count and two outs in the top of the ninth, Johnny Damon watched what everyone in the park thought was a ball four and a tie game -- except Cederstrom, who called strike three and a Braves victory.

That game was in Atlanta, so there's no guarantee the Tigers win that game even if Damon walks -- but the call still decided the outcome.

Of course, the different between that and Bob Davidson's call was that Cederstrom took Joyce's example and admitted he blew the call, while Davidson continues to stand by his obviously incorrect call.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: August 5, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2010 1:48 am
 

Davidson's blown call costs Marlins a W

Bob Davidson After the Marlins' bullpen blew a lead, third-base umpire Bob Davidson blew the game against the Phillies.

With a runner on second and one out, Sanchez hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. The ball bounced twice -- in fair territory -- before going over the bag and as it passed Davidson near the end of the infield dirt, Davidson threw his hands into the air and called a foul ball.

Just as he started to raise his hands, the ball bounced again -- six inches or so inside the line. Davidson was looking straight ahead and not at the ball as it bounced in fair territory. Rules state it doesn't matter where it lands, only where it crosses the bag, but it's kind of hard to believe the ball bounced twice in fair territory, went foul and curved back fair.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez came out to argue the call, but didn't get tossed.

Ryan Madson struck out Sanchez on the next pitch and after an intentional walk to Dan Uggla, Cody Ross struck out to send the game to extra innings.

Carlos Ruiz homered in the top of the 10th to give the Phillies a lead.

UPDATE: It's final, 5-4. The Phillies sweep the series, with a little help from Balking Bob.

UPDATE: From Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post : "#Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria on the blown call -- The ball never landed in foul territory. Dreadful"

And if anyone knows "dreadful" it would be the most dreadful owner in MLB.

UPDATE: Remember how Jim Joyce turned his negative into a positive by accepting responsibility and reminding us umpires are human, too? Well, Bob Davidson has the exact opposite and reminds us of the arrogance of some umpires -- from Capooz via Twitter : "Umpire Bob Davidson -- Im very confident i got it right... i understand that's the winning run but in my opinion it was foul"

UPDATE: So, Davidson's arrogance knows no bounds. He watched the replay and is unrepentant. Here's the transcript of Davidson's meeting with a pool reporter, courtesy of Capozzi :

“I was right on top of it and it was wide of the bag, that’s all. I had it foul.”

He said he watched replays and stands by his call.

“In my opinion, where it goes over the bag, you can’t tell,” he said. “After a bounce, it came an inch or two on the fair side, but … it was very close. But I’m right there. i know what I saw.

“I’m very confident I got it right. What the ball did when it went past me is irrelevant.”

“As I’m looking at the base, it was just to the right of it.”

“I understand that’s the winning run, but in my opinion it was foul and there’s no replay that you can really see what the ball does over the bag — and that’’s what’s important. But I know what I saw.”

Rodriguez brings up replay again, telling reporters: "I think that if a play is going to decide who wins or loses the game, i think they should check the play, any play."

The problem with that is who is to say what happens after the ball goes fair -- does the runner automatically get two bases? Is it treated like a ghost runner? Sure, in that situation, the runner would have scored easily, but what if the runner's on first? Does he score or just get rewarded two bases and put at third, as he would on a ground-rule double, even if he'd likely score on the play. There are so many what-ifs that brings in more judgement calls and chances for errors.

There's room for reasonable debate, but there's little room for debate that Davidson once again comes off as a pompous ass.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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





Posted on: August 4, 2010 5:13 pm
 

Phillies get Sweeney from Mariners

Mike Sweeney The Phillies needed a first baseman. The Mariners needed to figure out what to do with Mike Sweeney. Problems solved.

A day after the Phillies placed first baseman Ryan Howard on the disabled list with an ankle sprain, and a day after Sweeney's rehab stint expired, the teams made a deal Wednesday to ship the 37-year-old slugger to Philadelphia for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports via Twitter that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Sweeney will be the starting first baseman in Howard's absence. Ross Gload should also get some starts there.

Sweeney has been on the disabled list since late June with back spasms, but he's basically been stashed there since the acquisition of Justin Smoak (since demoted) in the Cliff Lee deal.

In fact, he recently told the Tacoma News Tribune: "I’ve felt fine for about 35 days now. It’s a little unfortunate that I’ve been on the DL this long. I’ve been healthy pretty much since the day they put me on the DL. Really, it’s pretty much out of my control."

Sweeney is seriously injury-prone, but when he's healthy he still has some pop. In 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma, he batted .366, and in his final rehab game Tuesday he hit a pair of two-run homers. In 99 at-bats with the Mariners, he hit six homers (and batted .263/.327/.475).

Sweeney is known as one of the friendliest players in baseball (a June poll of major-leaguers by SI.com named him the nicest in the game), but there were early-season indications he'd had several disagreements with manager Don Wakamatsu.

Sweeney cleared waivers, which means every American League team and every National League team with a record worse than Philadelphia passed on claiming him. Sweeney is making $650,000 this season and will be a free agent.

-- David Andriesen

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


Posted on: August 3, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Busy day for DL

Kevin Youkilis With most injuries, you never quite know how bad they are until the next day.

As for last night? It wasn't a real good night for some of baseball's better players.

As was mentioned already, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis went to the disabled list today, and the news on that injury is a little up in the air.

Youkilis had an MRI this morning that found a torn muscle in his thumb that could require surgery. According to the Boston Globe 's Peter Abraham , doctors are uncertain about the extent of the injury and Youkilis will get a second opinion soon.

"They're searching for some answers because this is, I think, quite rare," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told Abraham and other reporters. "How it happened is a little hard to explain. … In the meantime, there's no way we're going to let him play and take a swing and hurt his career."

Francona said there's a chance that it could scar up and allow Youkilis to return after the 15 days are up.

Ryan Howard Youkilis isn't the only big-time first baseman to go to the disabled list today -- the Phillies placed Ryan Howard on the disabled list with a  sprained left ankle. The team called up John Mayberry Jr. to take his place.

Howard hurt the ankle sliding into second base in Sunday's game in Washington. He went with the team to Florida, but returned to Philadelphia on Monday to get the ankle checked out. With Howard on the DL, Jayson Werth becomes the only Phillie regular not to have visited the DL this season.

It wasn't all bad news for first basemen, as Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay that Joey Votto (wrist) will return to the lineup for Wednesday afternoon's game against the Pirates. However, the Reds did put starting shortstop Orlando Cabrera on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

The Reds will replace him in the lineup with Paul Jansih, a superb defensive shortstop who has hit well (.270/.370/.413) in spotty playing time this season. To replace Cabrera on the roster, the Reds called up third baseman Juan Francisco.

As for Monday's most gruesome injury, test on Carlos Santana's left knee showed a high-grade strain of the LCL and hyperextension of the left knee, according to a tweet from the Cleveland Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes . Surgery is still a possibility for the Indians' top young player. The Indians also placed Travis Hafner on the DL and called up catcher Lou Marson and starter David Huff.

UPDATE: Hoynes has more on his blog abotu Santana's injury -- Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff says the injury isn't as bad as the Indians feared. "We do feel fortunate," Soloff said.

As for Howard, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including David Hale of the News Journal , that the team isn't sure how long Howard will be out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: August 3, 2010 1:45 am
Edited on: August 3, 2010 11:11 am
 

Resolution on Lowell approaching

Mike Lowell has been stuck in purgatory for the last few days after completing a wildly successful rehab outing with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

"Tomorrow should be a good day," Lowell said to ESPN's Gordon Edes, however, after Monday's game. Perhaps, at long last, Lowell will be freed from one of the more ridiculous situations a ballplayer can be asked to go through the whole season.

Lowell will either be released, traded or activated.

The latter option was not even close to being an option until Monday night, once first baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game with a jammed finger. He's undergoing an MRI on Wednesday after experiencing swelling. A DL trip is not out of the realm of possibility, in which Lowell would suddenly find himself available to play first base.

That ship may have sailed, however, as its apparent both sides are absolutely sick of each other.

Lowell is a possibility to be traded after clearing trade waivers, but it's unknown if he has already been placed on said waivers or cleared. However, if he has, he could be traded to a team fairly quickly. The Red Sox reportedly had engaged a few teams in talks on Lowell but could not consummate anything by the time the deadline rolled around.

The most likely outcome has Lowell being released, although one may question why it took Boston a couple extra days to make that move.

Either way, the four teams that figure to be most interested in Lowell are the Marlins, Phillies, Twins and Yankees.

The Marlins would represent a homecoming for Lowell, who could step seamlessly into the vacancy that Jorge Cantu left behind when dealt to the Rangers. He could also go back to his roots as Yankee, serving as Lance Berkman's platoon partner at DH and backing up Alex Rodriguez, a position the Yankees are trying to fill.

The Twins have long been connected to Lowell as well, and he would provide a boost to the team's playoff hopes. The Phillies have Chase Utley out for an extended period and no starting third baseman with Placido Polanco moving to the keystone position. Lowell could supplant Greg Dobbs at the position. With Ryan Howard's latest injury and possible trip to the DL, Lowell might become even more coveted by Philly.

Either way, Lowell's tenure in a Red Sox uniform seems to finally and mercifully be coming to an end.

It's only a shame that one of the best third basemen in Red Sox history with a 2007 World Series MVP award had to end his tenure this way.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Winners/losers of trading deadline

Now that the non-waiver trading deadline is past, it's time to take a look back at the winners and losers. While players aren't done switching teams and plenty more will find new zip codes on their mailing addresses in August via the waiver process, it becomes far harder to pull trades off.

Grades are relative to the team's window of contention, goals at the deadline and outcome -- not to other teams.

Angels: L.A. imported Alberto Callaspo from the Royals to plug the dike that was the third-base gaping hole, then absolutely pilfered Dan Haren away from the Diamondbacks. They promptly lost Joel Pineiro to injury, but do have a greater chance at competing this season, even as the Rangers improved themselves. For 2011 and 2012, they kept themselves right in contention to be division champions. With money coming off the books the next season and two, they should be players in free agency and now can trumpet Haren as a front-line pitcher for free agents to play with. Grade: B+

J.A. Happ Astros: The Astros did well in the idea of trading away Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt to begin the trading process. The return for Oswalt from Philadelphia met with a few raised eyebrows. The team is high on J.A. Happ (pictured, left) even though no one else is. The deal was salvaged by flipping Anthony Gose from Brett Wallace. The Lance Berkman trade was tough to swallow. They traded a face of the franchise to the Yankees, picking up salary along the way for retread prospects. This was a deal strictly about money, not about helping the team -- although it did free up a spot for Wallace. Grade: C+

Athletics: The Billy Beane-led A's did nothing at the deadline, which wasn't the wrong choice. Texas and Los Angeles made too many steps to outpace a team that was going to have a hard time keeping pace anyways. What didn't make sense was their adamant position that they wanted to keep Ben Sheets and not trade him. But whoops -- a torn flexor tendon that knocks Sheets out for about a year and causes $10 million to go down the drain in Oakland happened. Grade: D

Blue Jays: Toronto had to give up intriguing prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to ship out Alex Gonzalez to the Braves, but got back young shortstop Yunel Escobar and pitching depth in Jo-Jo Reyes. Gonzalez was a great flier for the rebuilding Jays rather than the short-term Gonzalez -- There's tons of upside with Yunel. Demerits are assessed by a reportedly high price to trade Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg or Scott Downs. None of them will help Toronto contend anytime soon, and the fact that Jesus Montero and Casey Kelly were prices for Downs is outrageous. They should have done everything they could to move Frasor, and probably could have gotten nice value for Gregg. The only defensible non-trade is Downs, who probably will be a Type-A free agent. Grade: C+

Braves: The Braves made moves for this year, but severely damaged their long-term chances in the process. Selling Yunel Escobar off for Gonzalez, Collins and Pastornicky was questionable enough, but then turned Collins, fungible reliever Jesse Chavez and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Huh? Grade: C- ... and it's not a D because they did at least improve their chances this year.

Brewers: The Brewers did nothing except try to improve their pitching and determine whether it was time to trade Prince Fielder or not. Fielder is likely a goner in the offseason or next season's trade deadline, but there's nothing wrong with hanging onto him. There wasn't much Milwaukee was in a position to do. Jim Edmonds reportedly didn't want to ship out, and past that they didn't have much in the way of valuable trade chips. Grade: N/A

Cardinals: The Cardinals brought in Jake Westbrook. That was good. They traded Ryan Ludwick. Not so good. There are hints that the Ludwick dealing was financially motivated to keep Albert Pujols in town. That's well and good, but Ludwick-to-Westbrook is largely a lateral move, even factoring in more playing time for Colby Rasmus. Grade: C

Cubs: It's tough to begin a rebuilding process once again, but Ted Lilly was a free agent so there was no overwhelming reason to keep him. Ryan Theriot has become punchless at the plate, and they upgrade with Blake DeWitt from the Dodgers anyways. Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach -- two young, minor-league pitchers -- are decent arms. They tried to deal Derrek Lee, but Lee nixed it with his no-trade clause. Can't penalize GM Jim Hendry for that. Grade: B-

Diamondbacks: The Dan Haren trade was odd, no two ways about it. Yes, Joe Saunders won quite a few games in Los Angeles, but so what? He's a No. 4 starter who has a shot at being a No. 3 by virtue of being in the NL, but that's about it. The prospects acquired were underwhelming, although the expected acquisition of Tyler Skaggs will soothe jilted D-Backs fans somewhat. Snyder was a pure cash dump -- but not indefensible. If the team's not contending, why pay a backup catcher millions? Even without receiving anyone of true value, except perhaps D.J. Carrasco, it was high time for Arizona to move on from Snyder. They won out on Edwin Jackson big time, shedding salary for an underperforming starter and getting a young, cost-controllable starter (Daniel Hudson) along with prospect David Holmberg.

Dodgers: The Dodgers gave up quite a bit for Octavio Dotel, even if Dotel is cost-controllable through 2011 on a team option. That trade may come back to bite them hard, even if they needed Dotel to challenge for the division. The Ted Lilly acquisition was nice, and if you concede that Blake DeWitt was the price for Lilly, then Ryan Theriot wasn't a bad grab either. They definitely put the pieces together to contend, but is it too little, too late? Grade: C+

Giants: San Francisco tried to bring in a bat. They really did. They tried for Adam Dunn, David DeJesus (and if he hadn't gotten hurt for K.C., might be in San Fran right now), Scott Podsednik... but nothing came together. They instead settled for two middle relievers: Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Giving up John Bowker and Joe Martinez for Lopez is a curious move, even if they have strong outfield depth. Jonathan Sanchez was a popular name in talks for a bat, but S.F. was understandably leery of dealing the lefty. The Ramirez trade cost them an average middle relief prospect. They'll continue mixing-and-matching on offense, and the bullpen is definitely better off for the adds. Grade: B

Jake Westbrook Indians: The Indians wanted to get rid of people they didn't want and had no need for. The millions they saved in shipping Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns off -- even without getting any players of consequence in return -- were worth it. Westbrook (pictured, right) finally was shipped out as well, and while prospect Corey Kluber isn't an exciting name, he's enough of an intriguing player that the Indians clearly came out ahead in this season's trade deadline, which was all about shedding irrelevant pieces. Would have been nice for a rebuilding team to get a good prospect, though. Grade: B

Mariners: The Mariners dealt Cliff Lee to get Justin Smoak and a bevy of prospects. That was a solid deal, even if Smoak has just been demoted to Triple-A. That was it, however. While Seattle is in a different place than most rebuilding clubs because they are contenders just struggling through an awful season (advice to GM Jack Zduriencik: bring in some bats next year for a change). Still, it's surprising they weren't more active. The reason Russ Branyan was acquired and then not flipped is... heck, I don't know. Grade: C

Marlins: The Marlins shipped off Jorge Cantu, who was playing third base. That temporary lack of depth at third hurts, although Chris Coghlan will man the hot corner once he returns from injury. It was nice to see the Marlins bring in Will Ohman to contribute out of the bullpen, however. Florida was in a tough place: a team good enough to contend, but not quite good enough to be true buyers. They essentially held serve here while saving a bit of money and importing Evan Reed from the Cantu trade, who has a chance to develop into a nice arm. Grade: B-

Mets: The Mets did nothing here, even though they would have loved to get rid of Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Jeff Francouer. No one was having any of it, though, and New York was adamant in not trading its top prospects. You can argue they should have loosened the purse strings a bit to bring in someone, but there was no one overwhelming that made sense for a team slipping out of the division race. A middle-of-the-rotation starter would have been a lateral move, while only a major hitter could have been considered an upgrade -- and then you're back to having to deal top prospects. One problem: their window of contention is now. Grade: C-

Nationals: The Nationals failed to trade Adam Dunn. There is zero reason why they shouldn't have. Grade: F

Orioles: The Orioles are once again a team with no plan, trading away reliever Will Ohman for a fringe major-league reliever. For a squad headed to one of the worst finishes in team history, why exactly they weren't more aggressive sellers is baffling. Ty Wigginton is still on this team... why? The one saving grace is shipping Miguel Tejada off for Wynn Pelzer, who might turn into quite a relief arm. Grade: D+

Ryan Ludwick Padres: I think this Jed Hoyer guy is going to end up a nice GM. The Miguel Tejada trade was OK -- nothing special, but didn't exactly cost much either and the Padres had a real need for someone with decent pop who can play the infield. The Ryan Ludwick (pictured, right) trade was incredible -- he immediately becomes the team's second-best hitter, trading away no one of consequence. Grade: B+

Phillies: The Phillies gave up J.A. Happ and two far-away prospects for Roy Oswalt, emphatically closing the book on the idiotic idea to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason. It would have been nice if they could have imported a utility player like Ty Wigginton or Willie Bloomquist for the stretch run, as Chase Utley isn't exactly on the verge of returning and the depth on the bench is thin. However, after the initial trade for Lee and later the Oswalt deal, the Phillies are near tapped out on money and prospects. Bottom line: they did what they could. Grade: B+

Pirates: The Bucs were quiet then exploded in a frenzy, acquiring Chris Snyder in a buy-low move that saw them give up absolutely no one of consequence . Ryan Church is a backup outfielder, D.J. Carrasco is a solid middle reliever and not much else and backup infielder Bobby Crosby. If he plays full-time, Snyder has a real chance to reclaim the value that made Arizona sign him to a contract extension in the first place -- which 'Zona will help pay. Pittsburgh then shipped out a lefty reliever best used against just lefties for a swingman in Joe Martinez and a solid outfielder who can give them years of cheap production, even if he never morphs into a starting regular. The Octavio Dotel trade to L.A was sublime , getting a viable starter who could end up a strong reliever and one of the Dodgers' best prospects in Andrew Lambo. Grade: A

Rangers: Boy howdy, was Texas busy. They bit the bullet to bring in Cliff Lee, which instantly made it viable World Series contenders, then continued to supplement with Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman. Obviously, the Rangers are going for it this year and it's hard to fault them when they have such a strong team. It hurts to lose Smoak, but there are questions about his long-term success anyways, and first-base is not exactly impossible a void to fill. Cantu and Guzman cost them a few average prospects, ones that can easily be mortgaged for a chance like this to win a ring. Grade: A

Rays: Tampa Bay brought in a reliever with an ERA over 8, and that was it. (Okay, so Chad Qualls has a chance to be a solid reliever for the team.) The team desperately needs a thumper, although Matt Joyce is currently making everyone smile since being recalled from Triple-A. Tampa is in an interesting position: able to take on payroll for a playoff push, but which is slashing payroll to around $60 million next year. Adam Dunn would have been a great fit, but Tampa can't concede future seasons just for one "win-now" year -- that would be irresponsible. Grade: C+

Red Sox: The Red Sox were largely quiet until the very end, when they shipped off Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco for an average middle-relief prospect. This trade was more about opening space for intriguing names at Triple-A. The team then struck for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, long coveted by the team, for an average first-base prospect and intriguing, but raw, Class A arm. They were unable to make anything come together to supplement the major-league roster, but figure to be active in waiver trading. For a team falling out of the race, besieged by injuries, it was probably prudent not to do anything drastic and instead build until next year while integrating its returning players and seeing who pops up in August. Grade: C

Reds: Cincy is in the hunt for the division but may have benefited by seeing the Cardinals trade away Ryan Ludwick. They have Aroldis Chapman presumably coming up to help the bullpen shortly and no overwhelming holes. Making a trade would have smacked of making a deal for deal's sake. It would not be surprising to learn that they shot high with their targets and couldn't make anything come together. They could stand to add a middle reliever, but also have Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey on the recovery trail. Staying pat was probably smart. Grade: B

Rockies: The Rockies couldn't make anything happen despite a team falling out of the race which had a really good shot at the division. They couldn't trade Brad Hawpe with Todd Helton's struggles. When Troy Tulowitzki went on the disabled list two months ago, it was very disappointing that Colorado decided to stand pat and see how the team played without Tulowitzki to determine whether to be buyers or sellers. They were already planning to buy to help the team with Tulowitzki, so it should be no surprise Colorado found itself out of the race. They should have done more. Grade: D

Rick Ankiel Royals: It's not often there are good things to say about the Royals, but there's a time for everything. Kansas City did fantastic in shedding Rick Ankiel (pictured, left) and Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta. Farns is a strong middle reliever, but that's all he is while Ankiel was blocking other players with a better impact at helping K.C. contend in 2012. The return for Callaspo wasn't terrible, but not great. Grade: B-

Tigers: Detroit had far too many holes to do much of anything. They lost Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge all to the disabled list in a short span of time. They bought low on Jhonny Peralta who hammered two home-runs in his Tiger debut. You would have liked to see the Tigers be a bit more aggressive with the AL Central division crown available, but it's hard to blame them for holding onto their major prospects. There is no silver bullet available to make up for all the losses. Grade: C +

Twins: The Twins really love saves, as they traded one of the best prospects in Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps of Washington. Take the saves out, and Capps is an approaching-overpriced solid middle reliever. Even though Ramos had lost his luster somewhat, it's still a confusing move. They didn't get the starting pitcher they coveted either. Grade: D

White Sox: The ChiSox did everything they could and more to bring in Adam Dunn, but refused to sacrifice their future in Gordon Beckham. They acquired Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and a minor leaguer, perhaps hoping to flip Jackson to the Nationals. That's a no-go, so while the White Sox did technically upgrade their rotation, it's unclear whether they would have done so if they knew they wouldn't get Dunn. Plus, Jackson makes $8.35 million next year. Grade: C

Yankees: The Bronx Bombers wielded their financial might to bring in Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood at minimal cost. Berkman has the most chance to make an impact, taking on the role the Yankees thought Nick Johnson would. Kearns and Wood are supplemental pieces to the bench and bullpen, respectively, and won't be a huge loss if they don't work out. Overall, they gave up next-to-nothing in talent and cash they could burn anyways. The team made an aggressive push for Cliff Lee, but fell apart. In a market with no other clear upgrade than Lee, the Yankees decided to play it safe and keep their minor-league chips. Grade: B

-- Evan Brunell

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


Posted on: July 29, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Oswalt headed to Philly

Roy Oswalt The Phillies have completed a deal for Houston's Roy Oswalt, which will give the Phillies a vaunted Big Three in the rotation along with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Wednesday night, we learned that the Phillies and Astros agreed on an Oswalt trade, with only the ace's approval needed. That has come.

Oswalt will bring a 6-12 record that will unquestionably start trending positive with the Phillies behind him. What the Phillies want more than that record is his 3.42 ERA in 129 innings, having struck out 120 and walked 34. Oswalt looked like the years of being a bona-fide ace were behind him after a poor 2009, but his 2010 has answered those questions and more.

While Philadelphia clearly erred in letting Cliff Lee go, it's to GM Ruben Amaro's credit that he struck for another pitcher and hasn't allowed the trading of Lee in the offseason to impact his decisions. Unlike some would do in his position, Amaro realized that the Lee deal was done -- finished. A sunk cost. You don't make decisions about the best way to improve your club moving forward by bemoaning moves of the past.

In addition, while Lee is a superior pitcher to Oswalt, Amaro also positions his rotation better for future success what with Oswalt under contract for 2011. Lee, of course, will command an exorbitant price as a free agent this offseason.

The Phillies also scored a coup by getting Oswalt to agree not to demand his 2012 option be exercised. According to ESPN's Amy Nelson, Philadelphia will instead allow Oswalt's no-trade clause to be retained as well tacking on an extra million to his 2012 buyout.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the 2012 option is actually a mutual option, and if Oswalt declines his end of the option, the buyout is unchanged. If the Phillies exercise their end and Oswalt opts out, that's when the buyout increases -- thought to be $2 million.

Given Philadelphia still retains the potential to pick up the option for $16 million, that extra million is certainly worth the protection of not having to lock into 2012. Given Oswalt has had multiple back problems along with a bevy of wrist issues, not being locked into a soon-to-be 33-year-old is a smart move. 

But that's not all the money Philly saves. The organization will also receive cash to help cover Oswalt's deal -- $11 million to be exact, according to ESPN.com . Oswalt is due roughly $25 million for the rest of the contract, including the 2012 buyout. The fact that Houston will foot the bill for almost half that total is impressive.

The trade is a three-for-one deal, with J.A. Happ the centerpiece headed to Houston along with two minor-leaguers.

Happ broke through in 2009 with a sterling 2.93 ERA in 23 starts and 12 relief appearances. While he helped propel Philly to a second consecutive NL pennant, he is simply a mirage. His BABIP has been unbelievably low in his major-league stints with a sky-high runners-stranded-on-base rate without a K/BB ratio approaching solid. It's why his xFIP last season was 4.49, and why one shouldn't be fooled by his 1.76 ERA through three starts in 2010 with an xFIP of 6.33. Anyone who strikes out five batters a game and walks seven will not see a sub-2.00 ERA last long.

Happ was injured in mid-April after making two starts and recently completed a rehab assignment but was assigned to Triple-A to continue his rehab. He was called up to the bigs to start on Sunday after Jamie Moyer hit the disabled list. Happ is essentially the NL version of Daisuke Matsuzaka -- doing it all with smoke and mirrors.

The two prospects in the deal are Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar .

Gose is only 19, and is currently trying to make his bat come alive at High Class A Clearwater, an aggressive level for his age. He's hitting .263/.325/.385 in 461 plate appearances, swiping 36 bases. He has a lot to learn about baserunning, however, as he's tacked on 27 times being caught stealing. Gose was ranked the No. 6 prospect by Baseball America in the offseason and was also named the best defensive outfielder in the system.

Gose is being spun to Toronto, who wanted the youngster in the Roy Halladay deal -- and uses a trade chip acquired in the Halladay deal to get it done. According to Rosenthal, Brett Wallace is being sent to Houston, whowas traded to Toronto from Oakland for Michael Taylor, who had been acquired from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay trade. One could argue, then, that the Jays apparently preferred Gose to Taylor, but that Philadelphia wouldn't give him up.

The 23-year-old Wallace is hitting .301/.359/.509 for Triple-A and is in his first season as a full-time first baseman. He figures to be the long-term replacement for Lance Berkman in Houston, although one has to wonder about Wallace's talent now that he's been traded three times in a two-year span. (He was sent to Oakland by St. Louis in the Matt Holliday trade last season.)

As for the prospect from Philly that is staying in Houston, the 19-year old Villar is playing for Class A Lakewood and hitting .271/.322/.358. There is not a lot to like here about the shortstop, though he is admittedly raw. Gose is raw too, but has a higher ceiling and some semblance of tools. One thing Villar has going for him is he can pick it on defense despite a staggering 42 errors in 99 games which isn't really indicative of fielding talent at that level.

Altogether, it is a rather underwhelming return Houston received for Oswalt. It is clear that the Astros sold Oswalt at a discount, much like Arizona and Dan Haren.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:41 am
Edited on: July 29, 2010 2:18 pm
 

Report: Astros, Phillies await Oswalt's OK

Roy Oswalt UPDATE : Oswalt has agreed to go to Philly, and the Astros will receive J.A. Happ and two minor-leaguers. Click here for the full story .

All Roy Oswalt has to do is say OK and he'll be a Phillie, according to a report by Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports in Houston .

Berman says the Astros and Phillies have agreed not only on the players involved, but also the amount of money involved in the deal.

Oswalt asked to be traded earlier this season, so it's assumed he'll waive his no-trade clause to join Philadelphia.

If Oswalt moves before his scheduled start against the Brewers on Friday, he will leave Texas one victory shy of tying Joe Niekro's record for victories as an Astro (144).

This season he is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA. He is owed roughly $5 million for the rest of this season, plus $16 million next season. He also has a club option for $16 million in 2012 with a buyout of $2 million.

Earlier in the day, it was reported the Cardinals were out of the running for Oswalt and the Dodgers were unlikely to swing a deal.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


 
 
 
 
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