Tag:MLB rumors
Posted on: December 20, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 6:05 pm

Rockies sign Casey Blake to one-year deal

By Matt Snyder

The Rockies have agreed to sign free agent third baseman Casey Blake to a one-year contract, general manager Dan O'Dowd announced to reporters during a press conference to introduce new right fielder Michael Cuddyer. The deal is worth $2 million, according to CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. It is still pending a physical, which is especially important to remember here because Blake battled a neck injury all season. In fact, he had season-ending surgery to repair it in September.


Blake, 38, appeared in only 63 games last season and wasn't really 100 percent when he did play. In 2010, he hit .248/.320/.407 with 28 doubles and 17 home runs.

The Rockies have a hole at third base until highly-touted prospect Nolan Arenado is ready. The 20-year-old spent last season in High-A ball, so there's no way he's ready to make the jump all the way to the bigs in time to be the opening day starter in 2012. Perhaps inking Blake to a one-year deal shows the Rockies are confident he'll be ready to take over by 2013? It's entirely possible. Of course, if Arenado's not ready, the Rockies can surely find another stopgap to sign to a one-year deal. Arenado hit .298/.349/.487 with 20 homers and 122 RBI in 134 games for the Modesto Nuts in 2011.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:03 pm

Royals bring back Yuniesky Betancourt

By Matt Snyder

The Kansas City Royals have signed free agent Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year deal, the club announced Tuesday afternoon. Betancourt had played with the Royals in the second half of 2009 and again in 2010, but he was sent to the Brewers as part of the Zack Greinke trade. He'll now return to Kansas City, at least for one season. The good news for Royals fans is that he won't be the starting shortstop. That job still belongs to defensive whiz -- so, like, the opposite of Betancourt -- Alcides Escobar.


“We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base and we feel Yuni is a great fit,” said Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore in a statement. “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”

Yes, Betancourt, 29, does have some power, having hit 16 homers in 2010 and 13 last season. Of course, he also makes a ton of outs. His career on-base percentage is a paltry .292. Last season, he hit .252/.271/.381 and is among the worst defensive shortstops in the majors. But, again, he's only going to serve as a backup to youngsters Escobar, Mike Moustakas and Johnny Giavotella around the infield. So it would appear his days as a regular starter are over.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 3:32 pm

Derek Holland talks 'Yu' on Twitter

Darvish to Texas
By Matt Snyder

Late Monday night, we learned that the Rangers had submitted a record posting bid -- upwards of more than $51 million -- just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old ace of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Rangers now have 30 days to agree on a contract with Darvish, as the $51 million-plus is the fee they'll pay directly to the Fighters, not a dime of which goes to Darvish.

Still, there's some excitement about the prospects of getting Darvish, including by his potential future rotation-mate: Derek Holland. The young left-hander took to Twitter to use a few of the plays on words with "Yu" we're sure to be saturated with probably before Darvish even throws a big-league pitch. See below ...

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 1:23 pm

Mets, Rockies discussing possible Young trade

By Matt Snyder

The Colorado Rockies are discussing a trade with the New York Mets that would ship Eric Young Jr. to New York, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned.

Young, 26, hit .247/.342/.298 for the Rockies last season. Yes, that's a slugging percentage of less than .300, which is abysmal. Young does have great speed, though, as he stole 27 bases in 31 attempts. Unless the Rockies trade Seth Smith, Young is stuck as the Rockies' fifth outfielder, so dealing him could mean they keep Smith as the extra outfielder behind Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. Smith could then start when Cuddyer spells Todd Helton at first.

Young's fit on the Mets would appear to be as the fourth outfielder and also insurance for newly-acquired center fielder Andres Torres, who struggled last season. Fernando Martinez is also in house, but the New York Post reports the Mets are considering shopping the formerly-hyped prospect.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 7:31 am

Rangers have highest bid for Yu Darvish

By Matt Snyder

Yu Darvish could be headed to America very soon. The Texas Rangers have won the bidding for the Japanese phenom, Major League Baseball announced late Monday night. The Rangers did so with a bid of more than $51.7 million, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported exactly $51.7 million). That money will be paid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters once a contract -- independent of the posting fee -- is agreed upon with Darvish. The Rangers have 30 days to agree to terms with Darvish, otherwise they won't pay the posting fee and Darvish remains the property of the Fighters.

"We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high-bidders for Yu Darvish," agent Arn Tellem said in a statement. "The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations underway."

Darvish to Texas
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

Darvish may very well serve as the ace for the Rangers, though they seem to not really need titles on that rotation. Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to form a pretty solid 1-5 rotation for the two-time defending AL champs.

Also, this means the Rangers can leave both Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman in the bullpen in front of eight-inning man Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan, giving them a very formidable final four to close out games. Nothing is set in stone yet, as the Rangers could still elect to use Ogando in the rotation. They certainly have options.

Darvish actually has some family roots in America. His Iranian father attended high school in Massachusetts and played soccer at Eckard College in Florida, which is where he met Darvish's Japanese mother.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 8:55 pm

Add the Nationals to list of Gio Gonzalez suitors

By Matt Snyder

A's starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez has been one of the hottest names swirling through trade rumors this offseason. It's not a rumor, it's reality, that he's on the block. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported last week that the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds were among the suitors for Gonzalez. Oakland general manager Billy Beane is shooting for the stars, too, because Knobler reported that the A's asked the Marlins for blossoming slugger Mike Stanton. And now we can add the Nationals to the mix.

Hot Stove League
Knobler confirmed that Washington has talked about a swap for Gonzalez, after a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports stated the Nats are "pushing hard" and talking about dealing four players for Gonzalez.

Also, with the Reds having acquired Mat Latos, you can cross them off the list of suitors. If the Rangers or Blue Jays land Japanese phenom Yu Darvish -- the two clubs are the reported favorites -- you can cross another name off the list. Still, it looks like the A's could end up being a big winner as things stand, with so many teams looking to add one more starter and a dearth of names available through a trade or free agency.

Gonzalez, a 26-year-old left-hander, was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 202 innings last season. Good numbers, but he also led the AL with 91 walks and plays half his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors. Last season his home ERA was 2.70 and his road ERA was 3.62.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:32 pm

Darvish much better than past imported pitchers

By Matt Snyder

With Yu Darvish soon headed to America, the standard generalization from many seems to be that we have to lump him in with the other starting pitchers who have come over from Japan. Hideo Nomo and Daisuke Matsuzaka had good starts but didn't sustain it long-term (though Dice-K still has a chance to change that and Nomo had a very good year for the Dodgers late in his career) while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were unmitigated busts.

As unfair as it is to assume all pitchers coming over from Japan will be a bust based upon four cases -- and it's incredibly unfair -- it's even more unfair to assume everyone coming over is created equally. Look at the position players: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki panned out while a decent amount of position players have failed to meet expectations. We need to judge every player on an individual basis.

With that in mind, here's a chart comparing Darvish's Nippon Professional Baseball stats with the four previous big-name starting pitchers to come to Major League Baseball. I used only the pitchers' last five seasons in Japan, as Darvish has only been in the league for five years. Also, I was unable to find hits allowed in every season for all pitchers so unfortunately we had to leave WHIP off the chart. I can tell you with much confidence, however, that Darvish's career 0.89 WHIP would have dwarfed the respective marks posted by the other four here.

Pitcher Years W-L IP ERA K/9
Hideo Nomo
1990-94 78-46 1051.1 3.13 10.3
Hideki Irabu
1992-96 46-39 787 2.87 9.8
Daisuke Matsuzaka
2002-06 63-33 814.2 2.62 9.3
Kei Igawa
2002-06 75-43 997.1 3.14 8.6
Yu Darvish
2007-11 76-28 1024.1 1.72 9.5

Seriously, just look at the ERA, winning percentage -- and again keep in mind his WHIP is greater by a large margin -- and ask yourself if you really want to use how those first four fared in America as a fair baseline for how the 6-foot-5 Darvish will translate. He's obviously been the much greater pitcher in Japan, so it's not fair to believe he's Fat Toad 2.0 ... or even Dice-K 2.0. Darvish is better than each of these four ever was. Period.

Sources: The Baseball Cube, JapaneseBallplayers.com, Sports Nippon and Baseball-Reference.com.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 5:39 pm

Nationals sign Mike Cameron to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Mike Cameron to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, the club announced Monday afternoon.

Cameron, 38, split time between the Red Sox and Marlins last season, hitting .203/.285/.359 with nine home runs in 269 plate appearances. He was once an All-Star and long a productive player, but he's certainly in the final stages of his playing career.


The Nationals have been searching for a center fielder for quite a while, but don't expect Cameron to be their fix. Instead, unless a trade can be reached for someone like B.J. Upton or Denard Span, Cameron is simply insurance in the outfield. It looks like Roger Bernadina will be the center fielder until Jayson Werth is moved to center to accomodate the right fielder of the future: Top prospect Bryce Harper. And that could come as early as opening day, according to various reports from Nationals beat writers.

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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