Tag:Reds
Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:22 pm
 

The 2011 Anti-Managers of the Year



By Matt Snyder


Some of the best managers in baseball for 2011 were listed on ballots that were revealed Wednesday. Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson came out on top in a completely unsurprising movement. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Who were the worst managers? We'll exclude guys who were fired during the season because they've already suffered enough. But what about the managers who kept their jobs well into September despite failing to meet preseason expectations? Let's check them out.

AL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Terry Francona, Red Sox. No, he wasn't fired during the season. He walked away after the season, so he's "eligible" in this fun little exercise. And with the fallout of the historic collapse we've already heard far too much about, you have to question everyone in the Red Sox organization. Francona built up a ton of credibility throughout his years at the helm in Boston and rightfully so, but in looking at just 2011, the awful September is a real black eye on his resume.

Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. He wasn't fired either. He walked away to take a new job after having a colossal disappointment of a season. The White Sox were picked by many to win the AL Central with what looked like a stacked offense and very good starting pitching. Instead, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were albatrosses, Gordon Beckham took a step backward in his development and the back-end of the bullpen was a mess for the first several weeks of the season. There were some positives, but the negatives far outweighed those on a high-priced roster that failed to meet expectations.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins. It's hard to completely blame Gardenhire for the disaster that was the Twins' 2011 season, considering all the injuries, but, frankly, I needed a third name here. And with the Twins getting 31 games worse in one season, Gardenhire has to shoulder at least some of the load.

The pick: It's gotta be Francona with that monumental collapse. And the funny thing is, I'd hire him in a heartbeat if I was running a team with a managerial opening. He just had a bad month, along with many of his players.

NL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves. His ballclub lost a double-digit lead in the NL wild card in one month. That's not always on the manager, as the offense was sputtering just as it had most of the season, but I'm placing a lot of blame on Gonzalez because the back-end of his bullpen started to falter down the stretch. All season, people had been pointing out the overuse of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. And all season, Gonzalez just ignored it, and continued running the duo out there, even with three-run leads. Just because the save rule says a three-run lead means a save opportunity doesn't mean you have to use your guys. What was wrong with using Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill with a three-run lead in the middle of July, for example? Plus, there were times Gonzalez used either Venters or Kimbrel with a lead bigger than three. That's just unexcusable.

Dusty Baker, Reds. The Reds got 12 games worse in a mediocre division (yes, there were two good teams, but three pretty bad ones) with very similar personnel to their division-winning team in 2010. In four seasons, Baker has only had a winning record once.

Mike Quade, Cubs. Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies. The Jorge De La Rosa injury hurt, just as some underperformance from a few players, but the Rockies entered the season with far too much talent to end up a whopping 16 games under .500. Manager of the Year voting seems to always use performance versus expectations, so it's only fair the Anti-Manager does the same. Thus, Tracy's inclusion here.

The pick: Gonzalez, and I'd actually think about firing him due to the aforementioned overuse of Kimbrel and Venters. It cost his team the season. Hopefully the wear and tear doesn't alter the career paths of the young fireballers.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Reds' Francisco robbed at gunpoint in Dominican

Juan Francisco

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In another scary tale from winter ball, Reds third baseman Juan Francisco was robbed at gunpoint in his native Dominican Republic, according to the Associated Press.

Francisco, 24, was unharmed after the robbery. Playing winter ball for Licey in the Dominican winter league, Francisco left to visit his parents after Tuesday's game and when he stopped to eat in Villa Altagracia, four men robbed him.

This, of course, is a bigger deal because it comes on the heels of the kidnapping of Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in Venezuela last week that highlighted the problem of player safety in Latin America.

H/T to MLB.com.

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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 15, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Reds move Opening Day a day earlier

RedsBy Evan Brunell

A potential thorny issue in Cincinnati has been avoided, with baseball moving the Reds' Opening Day to Thursday, April 5.

The Reds and Marlins will officially open the season at Great American Ball Park at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday. Opening Day was originally scheduled for Friday April 6, but that conflicted with Good Friday which is a significant holiday in Cincinnati.

“We want to thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and the Reds and Marlins players for agreeing to move Opening Day to Thursday, April 5,” Reds president Bob Castellini said. “Opening Day is a long-standing tradition for this team, our fans and the city of Cincinnati and we are pleased that the parade and game will now be on Thursday.”
 
The Reds intend to hold their traditional parade prior to the game, and it will be a special one. This upcoming season is the first time that the Reds' Opening Day will be considered a ceremonial holiday in Cincinnati. However, this year's Opening Day is in name only, as it won't kick off the baseball season. The Mariners and Athletics will open the season earlier in the week in Tokyo, Japan.

In addition, the Marlins are slated to open their new ballpark on Wed., April 4 before flying to the Reds to kick off the series. League rules mandate that any team playing a single-game series must receive a day off the day after. It is unclear how this was resolved in order to move the Reds game from Friday to Thursday.

Cincinnati is a predominantly Catholic town with 479,000 Catholics in the 19-county Archdiocese, and schools are closed beginning at noon on Good Friday to observe the holiday, which includes fasting. That would preclude people from eating food at concession stands, as well as lend a somber tone to what should be a festive day of the Reds' home opener.

“The biggest thing is it’s a conflict of moods,” Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said back in September. “Opening Day is a very festive occasion. Good Friday is a key date in our salvation. And although it’s called ‘Good’ it’s not a celebratory occasion.

The Reds also had Opening Day scheduled for Good Friday in the 2011 season, but were able to move it to Thursday.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

By Matt Snyder

With 26-year-old Cuban star Yoennis Cespedes ready to join Major League Baseball, it's worth taking a look at some of the recent Cuban players to defect to America. Obviously, there have been lots of players in history to come to America from Cuba and the interesting twist is that not near as much is known about these players as ones from other international destinations due to the embargo. So it's often a bit of a guessing game, in conjunction with Cuban numbers (which sometimes vary) and individual team workouts. Here are five recent hits and misses on Cuban imports -- at least as things appear now.

So far, so good

Yonder Alonso, Reds. The 24-year-old slugger looks like a rising star, if the Reds can either find a defensive spot for him or trade him somewhere that he can play everyday (or trade Joey Votto and play Alonso at first?!). In only 98 plate appearances in the majors, the highly-touted prospect hit .330 with five homers, 15 RBI and a .943 OPS this past season.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds. He went through a stretch of command problems in 2011 -- in six appearances he allowed 13 walks and 11 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings -- but was strong once again after he was recalled from the minors. We've seen the phenom hit 105 on the radar gun and the strikeout rate (90 K in 63 1/3 innings) bodes well for the success of the 23-year-old lefty moving forward. Plus, considering the aforementioned horrifying stretch of six games, Chapman still has a 3.27 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 69 appearances.

Kendrys Morales, Angels. He finished fifth in American League MVP voting in 2009 and was having another good season in 2010 before a broken leg hit the pause button on his career.

Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. In four big-league seasons, the average line for the Cuban Missile has been .279/.323/.421 with 17 homers, 71 RBI, 75 runs and 12 stolen bases. Lots of teams would take that from their shortstop.

Dayan Viciedo, White Sox. Sure, I'm banking on him blossoming at the major-league level, but Viciedo has shown good power at every stop. Last season, he hit .296 with 20 homers, 78 RBI and an .856 OPS in Triple-A. Those who have seen him in person know he's capable of some prodigious shots, too, like Mark Reynolds-level power. Considering Viciedo's only 22, there's definitely a good shot he becomes a 25-to-30-homer guy in the majors.

So far, not so good

Francisley Bueno. The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher has logged over 500 mediocre minor-league innings. His shot in the bigs lasted just 2 1/3 innings for the Braves, in which he allowed five hits and two earned runs.

Barbaro Canizares. He actually mashed in the Mexican League (Triple-A) in 2011, hitting .396/.499/.653 with 20 homers in just 83 games, so maybe he'll back. But he always hit in the minors before, too, it was getting a shot in the bigs that was a problem for Canizares. He only received 21 plate appearances for the Braves in 2009, getting just four hits (.190). He's 31 years old.

Yoslan Herrera. His major-league stint came back in 2008, when Herrera put together five unimpressive outings (9.82 ERA, 2.56 WHIP). He last pitched in the minors in 2010 for the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, putting together a 6.08 ERA in 26 2/3 innings.

Yuniesky Maya, Nationals. He's 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 58 2/3 innings at the big-league level. He hasn't fared much better in Triple-A and he's now 30 years old.

Amauri Sanit, Yankees. He's good if he's facing Double-A or worse competition, but after that it's been pretty bad. Sanit has a 5.99 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 50 Triple-A appearances and was horrible (12.86 ERA, 2.14 WHIP) in seven major-league innings this season. He's 32 and first made an appearance in the minors in 2008, so it's hard to see much changing.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:06 pm
 

MLB reveals Silver Slugger winners

By Evan Brunell

Unlike Gold Glove voting every single year, winners of the Silver Slugger awards at least make sense. On Wednesday, the list of Silver Sluggers for 2011 was announced. Ryan Braun became the first outfielder since Barry Bonds (2000-04) to win four straight Silver Slugger awards when he was named to the honor as a left fielder.

Below you can view the full list of winners.

American League
C: Alex Avila, Tigers
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves
1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers
2B: Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
OF: Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
P: Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:06 pm
 

MLB reveals Silver Slugger winners

By Evan Brunell

Unlike Gold Glove voting every single year, winners of the Silver Slugger awards at least make sense. On Wednesday, the list of Silver Sluggers for 2011 was announced. Ryan Braun became the first outfielder since Barry Bonds (2000-04) to win four straight Silver Slugger awards when he was named to the honor as a left fielder.

Below you can view the full list of winners.

American League
C: Alex Avila, Tigers
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves
1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers
2B: Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
OF: Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
P: Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

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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