Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:15 pm
If the Twins do opt to deal Jim Thome, who reportedly is on waivers through Thursday, it's hard to imagine a better way for Thome's career to end than him taking one last victory lap in Cleveland.
Thome certainly would fit with the Indians, with Travis Hafner possibly out for the season with a foot injury.
But here's a thought: What if another of Thome's ex-teams is in position to claim him first?
Hello, disappointing Chicago White Sox.
Any interest there?
"I'd love to have Jim Thome back," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Tuesday night's series opener against the Angels in Anaheim. "I've said day-in and day-out, he's one of my favorite guys in baseball.
"But that's up to Kenny [Williams, Sox general manager]."
The Sox are still hanging in there in a tepid AL Central in the midst of a disappointing, mediocre (63-63) season.
Free agent slugger Adam Dunn (.169, 11 homers, 40 RBI) has been one of the game's most disappointing players. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski currently is on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. Outfielder Carlos Quentin (.255, 24 homers, 77 RBI) was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game Tuesday with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder suffered Saturday against Texas.
"If you ask anybody wearing this uniform if they would want Jim Thome back, they would say, 'Yes'," Guillen said.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 10:34 pm
SAN DIEGO -- Matt Holliday can say he's going to avoid the disabled list in St. Louis, and maybe he will. The White Sox can hope that Adam Dunn only missed "up to five games", as they said on their Twitter account Wednesday.
But Andres Torres is here to tell you: Good luck with that.
Like Holliday and Dunn, with what suddenly has become the Injury of the Year in these early days of 2011, the Giants' outfielder underwent an emergency appendectomy last September.
As Holliday and Dunn hope to do, Torres avoided the disabled list and returned before anybody reasonably expected.
But that was after rosters had expanded in September, so the Giants weren't necessarily playing a man short.
"If we wouldn't have been so close to the playoffs, I would have taken more time, to be honest with you," Torres said Thursday. "I wasn't 100 percent, but I told myself, 'Go for it.'"
There were times when Torres wondered whether he was crazy.
He missed 12 days following the emergency appendectomy, came into a game as a defensive replacement on September 24, then started the next day ... but was removed mid-game because he still wasn't right. Then he sat for two more days.
"I hope [Holliday] gets better quick, but if he does it in a week, that's amazing. Seriously," Torres said. "I came back and played in one game, and I felt something pop out in my stomach and they had to take me out for two more days.
"The thing is, you've got a belt on. And let's say you reach or jump for the ball, you've got stitches."
Granted, neither Holliday nor Dunn is in Torres' speed category, but Torres said running is the biggest problem in returning from an appendectomy.
"It's painful," Torres said. "Diving for balls, too. I'm a sprinter but for me, when I came back, to be honest with you, it was painful.
"We were just going for the playoffs, and I wanted to be there."
Torres explained that surgeons make three small holes across your stomach in the procedure, and that, along with the stitches, can't be wished away.
"The pain, I'd say, lasts for 18 to 20 days," Torre said. "The pain is going to be there."
Likes: Best thing I've seen this spring, hands down: Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, 50, at San Diego's Petco Park on Wednesday. Gwynn, after a tough battle through radiation treatments to remove a tumor from his mouth, looks terrific and has lost weight. The twinkle is back in his eye, the life is back in his laugh and he looks even younger than the last several times I'd seen him. Just terrific. ... Tim Lincecum when he's on. ... Fun times with the traveling Giants' road show: They activated closer Brian Wilson on Wednesday, and he came on to pitch the ninth to a loud, raucous ovation. In San Diego. ... XM Radio during baseball season. ... The MLB Extra Innings package on television (which I still need to order before the Early Bird special expires this weekend). ... A list of CDs to pick up and being back home near my local record store to grab them. First up: The Drive-By Truckers' Go-Go Boots, which was released back in February.
Dislikes: What's with all of these appendicitis attacks? Not only St. Louis' Matt Holliday, the White Sox's Adam Dunn, and last September, the Giants' Andres Torres. Lesser known because it was right after the season, the Twins' Michael Cuddyer had an emergency appendectomy in October. Cuddyer was stricken not long after the Twins were eliminated by the Yankees in the playoffs and watched part of the World Series from his hospital room, post-surgery.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
Posted on: December 9, 2010 7:23 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 7:25 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If I hear one more plastic Christmas song over the irritating speakers here at the Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort before heading to the Mouse City Airport for the trip home, I'm going to. ...
Sorry, lost my head there for a moment.
What I meant to say was, a couple of quick parting thoughts as the Winter Meetings wrap up. ...
IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
White Sox: In U.S. Cellular Field, the country-strong Adam Dunn might hit 75 homers (OK, so I exaggerate, but just a bit). In the returning Paul Konerko, the White Sox have their soul back. Another nicely done job by the ultra-aggressive general manager Kenny Williams, his right-hand man Rick Hahn and, yes, owner Jerry Reinsdorf in arranging the funding to bring in both Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko.
Diamondbacks: Turn new GM Kevin Towers loose for his first winter meetings in charge of the D-backs, and already Arizona's bullpen -- historically bad in 2010 -- is better. The Snakes signed J.J. Putz to close and acquired Daniel Hernandez and Kam Mickolio from the Orioles. And clearly, that's just the start.
Rays: The mass exodus has begun for the poor Rays. Left fielder Carl Crawford signed with Boston (seven years, $142 million), first baseman Carlos Pena with the Cubs (one year, $10 million), set-up man Joaquin Benoit with Detroit (three years, $16.5 million), shortstop Jason Bartlett was traded to San Diego and free agent closer Rafael Soriano is on deck to leave.
Of the eight pitchers who threw the most relief innings for manager Joe Maddon last year, seven of them are free agents. And of the total number of relief innings pitched, those seven accounted for 78 percent of those innings. Yikes.
Orioles: Not only did AL East-rival Boston become exponentially better, but the Orioles were stonewalled every which way they turned looking to acquire a first baseman (Pena, Dunn, Konerko). Then outfielder Luke Scott showed up at the winter meetings and shot his mouth off in a Yahoo Sports interview that started about his deer hunting and wound up with Scott saying he thought President Obama was born outside of the United States and that Obama "does not represent America. Nor does he represent anything what our forefathers stood for." The Orioles rushed to put out a news release distancing the club from Scott's comments. Not exactly your typical winter meetings strategy. On the other hand, the Orioles finally got a shortstop by acquiring J.J. Hardy from the Twins, and a third baseman by acquiring Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks.
Athletics: Reminiscent of Baltimore back in the day when then-GM Syd Thrift became so flustered at failing to land impact free agents that he said if was as he were trying to spend Confederate money. It was like that for Oakland when free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre essentially ignored a five-year, $64 million offer until the A's pulled it. Oakland also lost designated hitter Jack Cust, who signed with Seattle. The A's are desperate for offense. They likely will wind up with free agent DH Hideki Matsui, who is earnest and hard-working but can't play much anymore, or Vladimir Guerrero if he doesn’t return to Texas.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 12:11 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It didn't carry the drama of Derek Jeter's talks with the Yankees, but in his own way, Paul Konerko has similar meaning to the White Sox. And now that will continue: Konerko and the White Sox have agreed to terms, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
It is a three-year deal worth $37.5 million. Konerko will be paid $12 million in 2011, another $12 million in 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013, though only $6.5 million is in straight salary in '13, with the rest deferred at $1 million a year over the next seven years.
If the Adam Dunn deal fleetingly looked like it could spell the end for Konerko in Chicago, who has been a fixture at first base on the South Side since 1999, the White Sox made sure to communicate to him nearly as soon as the four-year, $56 million deal with Dunn was done that they wanted him back.
"When I talk about Paul Konerko, I first have to talk about the first-class person he is," White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. "Believe me, that factors into our equation when we make a commitmentof this nature.
"One thing Craig Landis [Konerko's agent] and I talk about all the time is the type of guy he is not just on the field, but in the clubhouse, on the team bus, in the hotel.
"This is certainly about talent, but the message to young players out there is if you conduct yourself in this type of manner, something like this could happen."
Though talks briefly turned rocky Tuesday, it has been considered a fait accompli that Konerko would return to Chicago. He is one of owner Jerry Reinsdorf's favorite players, and he's been a cornerstone of the franchise for more than a decade.
"Paul Konerko has good teammates," Williams said. "One thing that helped us get this done was Adam Dunn caring more about winning than about getting the last dollar this year. He was more than accommodating in moving some of his money to the back of his deal. A.J. Pierzynski did the same thing."
Konerko had talked with a handful of other clubs, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.
"I think he would have looked awfully funny in another uniform at this point," Williams said.
At 34, Konerko is coming off of his strongest season in years in 2010. An All-Star for the fourth time, Konerko slammed 39 home runs and collected 111 RBI in '10, his best power numbers since 2005-2006. He also hit .312 with a .393 on-base percentage. He was fourth in the AL with a .977 OPS and finished fifth in this year's AL MVP balloting.
Konerko and Dunn are both expected to see time at first base and designated hitter.
As for the White Sox, Williams says they're about "tapped out" money-wise. He intends to add bullpen help, but that likely will be via trades.
"We'll take a look at a third left-handed situational guy," said Williams, who already has lefties Matt Thornton and Chris Sale in the pen. "Someone who can get Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer [of the Twins] out."
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:21 pm
The Oakland Athletics are all over the place this winter, from Lance Berkman to Adrian Beltre to Adam Dunn (before the White Sox closed the deal Thursday). But the one target with an increasingly urgent deadline is Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.
The A's won exclusive bidding rights to Iwakuma, but that window closes Tuesday. Negotiations between Oakland and the right-hander stalled a couple of weeks ago, and if the two sides don't reach an agreement, then Iwakuma's only choice is to return to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.
The A's have been library-quiet about the talks. With the clock ticking, one director of international scouting for a rival club expects the two sides to hammer out an agreement in the end.
"It's hard for me to see how Japan saves face if he goes back to Japan," said the scout, who has spent significant time in that country. "If he goes back to Japan, it will be an embarrassment to the team."
Iwakuma, 29, is not eligible for free agency in Japan until after the 2011 season, but Rakuten allowed him to be put up for bid to United States teams this winter.
The Athletics won exclusive negotiating rights with a $19.1 million bid. If Iwakuma signs, Rakuten receives the posting fee.
Iwakuma is said to be looking for $12 to $13 million annually in salary. Japanese media reported last month that the Athletics offered $15.25 million over four years. That's roughly the equivalent to what Iwakuma earned in salary with the Golden Eagles.
To play in the majors with Oakland, Iwakuma most likely is going to have to accept that his base salary will be lower than he wants because the A's will average the posting bid over the length of the contract as well, much like Boston did in signing Daisuke Matsuzaka to an overall deal of $103.1 million in 2006.
Then, the Red Sox paid a $51.1 posting fee and then agreed to a six-year, $52 million deal.
Spread over six years, the total of $103.1 million cost the Red Sox an average of just over $17 million annually, including the posting fee.
"He's good," the scout said of Iwakuma, who went 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA in 28 games in 2010 and is 101-62 with a 3.32 ERA over 10 professional seasons in Japan, with 46 complete games in 209 appearances. "I think he'll pitch a lot better than some guys who recently have come over.
Iwakuma does not compare to Matsuzaka because their syles are so different.
"Daisuke wants to throw all of his pitches," the scout said. "Iwakuma is a sinker-slider guy. Daisuke is a high-count guy. Iwakuma is a lower-count guy.
"I think it will get done with Oakland in the end, but who knows?"
Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:49 pm
The door clearly has begun to crack open for his departure.
Question is, when?
After this season, when his two-year, $45 million contract expires?
In August, when he almost certainly will sail through waivers (and when it especially would be incumbent upon the Dodgers to investigate deals for him if they drop out of the pennant race)?
"This club is built with him as our left fielder," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a conference call shortly after Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline passed. "We haven't had him for most of the year.
"That doesn't mean he can't provide us with some help the last couple of months."
Still, the man who stole headlines two Julys ago when the contending Dodgers scooped him up from Boston was back in them for a time in the final, crazy hours as clubs stampeded toward this year's trade deadline.
"We got a call from one team that offered us a very low dollar figure with no players attached to it," Colletti said in recapping the latest chapter in Mannywood. "That's what began it."
Though Colletti would divulge no specifics, industry sources have told CBSSports.com that it was the Chicago White Sox who came calling with ideas of installing Ramirez in the middle of their lineup as they work toward holding off Minnesota in the AL Central.
"Once it was out, a couple of teams called in the last 30, 45 minutes, but it was too cumbersome [to negotiate with the deadline closing in]" Colletti continued.
The GM would not confirm how many clubs phoned the Dodgers regarding Ramirez, only saying, tongue-in-cheek, that it was "a few more than one and less than 30."
Ramirez has full no-trade powers, but given his trouble with his legs this season, it is believed he would accept a deal to an AL club that would allow him a soft landing into a DH role.
"The team that had the strongest interest was trying to get another player that we had interest in with another club," Colletti said. "But that went by the wayside.
"We didn't start the rumor and we didn't float his name. The rumor was started by another team, and I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish."
The logic there would be that it was a gamble that the Nationals were more eager to rid themselves of Dunn than they let on, and the Ramirez rumors might pique their attention enough to go back to the White Sox and cut a deal for Dunn.
Whatever, no dice.
In the end, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo called everyone's bluff and wound up keeping Dunn.
Well, first they need to get a healthy Ramirez back into their lineup.
Then, they need to climb back into the NL West race -- they opened Saturday trailing first-place San Diego by seven games, and they were 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the wild-card race. Then they lost a crushing 2-1 decision in San Francisco Saturday afternoon.
At some point then -- or during the process -- they'll assess.
One source close to the Ramirez talks Saturday said that "it has to be a good deal" for the Dodgers to trade Manny. And clearly, the Dodgers didn't think they were approached with one.
But with about $7 million remaining of his $20 million 2010 salary, Ramirez surely will pass through waivers, which will give the Dodgers freedom to trade him in August if they're approached with the right deal.
One very good question for now, though, is when the Dodgers might see him again.
Ramirez, 38, currently is on the disabled list for a third time this season, this time with a strained calf. He did not even travel with the Dodgers on their current trip to San Diego and San Francisco, opting to rehab at the club's Arizona spring training facility, and sources say the club has grown increasingly disenchanted with him this season as he has separated himself from the rest of the clubhouse.
The leg problems make him even more of a liability in the outfield, and his power has diminished significantly since last season's 50-game suspension for failing a test pertaining to baseball's performance-enhancement drug policy. In just 61 games this season (the Dodgers now have played 104), Ramirez has just eight homers and a .317 batting average.
When will Manny return?
"That's tough to say," Colletti said. "A week. Ten days, perhaps."
Colletti did very right by the Dodgers this week in adding speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik (from Kansas City), versatile infielder Ryan Theriot (Cubs), veteran starting pitcher Ted Lilly (Cubs) and closer/set-up man Octavio Dotel (Pirates). He's always been at his strongest during the July and August trading periods.
The roster is fortified and manager Joe Torre has even more options.
But as for Ramirez, whose production is diminishing and whose honeymoon in Hollywood is finished ... what's left?
Does the GM believe Manny will finish the season a Dodger?
"I sure hope so," Colletti said, pausing and choosing his words carefully. "I think he will be.
"Yeah, I guess I believe it. How's that?"
Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 6:17 pm
Washington slugger Adam Dunn, subject of raging trade speculation as the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and others attempt to acquire him, is in the Washington lineup tonight and says he's amenable to going to an American League team to DH.
Dunn just finished speaking with reporters before heading out for batting practice, and colleague Danny Knobler is in D.C. for tonight's Roy Oswalt debut.
Here's what Danny passes along from Dunn:
"My options are awesome," said Dunn, who notoriously in the past has said he is not interested in being a designated hitter and prefers to stay in the NL.
Even if he's dealt to the AL and is asked to DH for the rest of the season?
"This will be a DH situation for two months," said Dunn, a free agent at season's end. "It's not career-ending."
Dunn, in good humor, also had a great line when asked his feelings about going to the White Sox if Chicago GM Kenny Williams is able to build the right package around pitcher Edwin Jackson.
"I like their uniforms," Dunn said. "I like black."
When the session ended, several reporters covering the Nationals shook Dunn's hand and wished him well.
"I'm not going anywhere," Dunn responded. "I'll see you guys after the game."