Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:40 pm
Their winter hibernation just ended. And just like that, the New York Yankees made themselves into AL East favorites.
Adding Michael Pineda from Seattle has all the earmarks of acquiring a young CC Sabathia or, ahem, Felix Hernandez -- the ace the Mariners wouldn't trade.
Adding Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year, $10 million deal adds the kind of rotation depth they could only dream of last summer -- and, presumably, a right-hander with more staying power than Bartolo Colon had.
"Wow," one scout said Friday night. "They've been laying in the weeds. They hadn't done anything."
Though the Yankees gave up a consensus future star in young slugger-to-be Jesus Montero, exactly the kind of young bat the Mariners need and a great move for them, Pineda and Kuroda join CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and maybe even Freddy Garcia in giving the Yankees the talent, depth and clout their rotation needs to take them deep into October.
Just a few days after meeting with the representatives for free agent Edwin Jackson, the Yankees became the talk of the industry on what had been a slow Friday night with their stealth move for Pineda, who, at 22, already is within sight of becoming an ace.
"He's got that kind of stuff," a scout who spent part of last summer focusing on AL West clubs said Friday night. "If you wanted to be conservative, he's a No. 2. He's got velocity, he came up with a slider that got better and better last year and he throws strikes. When he gives up a home run or a hard-hit ball, it does not chase him out of the strike zone.
"He's got that rare combination of stuff and control. He's young, he's not afraid, he's big, he's still growing and he's got makeup. He's a prize.
"And the Yankees will have, what, five years of control over him? He's the kind of guy you build around. Holy cow."
The Mariners were worried about rushing him too quickly last summer when they installed him into their rotation coming out of spring training. He pretty much immediately showed them, no sweat.
By season's end, over 28 starts, he struck out 173 hitters while walking just 55 over 171 innings. His average fastball was clocked at 94.7 m.p.h., according to FanGraphs.
What's notable about that? The fastballs of only three other AL starters checked in higher: Texas' Alexi Ogando, Detroit's Justin Verlander and Tampa Bay's David Price.
Kuroda? He turns 37 next month. But he gave the Dodgers 202 innings in 2011, going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. He's a competitor with fierce pride.
"Solid No. 3," the scout said. "He throws strikes, he's got good stuff, a crisp fastball that's deceptive and he throws harder than people think. He's at 90 to 94 with sink down in the zone, a crisp breaking ball and a good split.
"He's got out pitches. I'd love to have Kuroda."
Now the Yankees do. And Pineda. And Sabathia and Nova and Hughes and Burnett. ...
And as they search for a hitter, for now, they've still got 6-8 right-hander Dellin Betances and lefty Manny Banuelos, who opened many eyes last spring.
"Hanging onto Betances and Banuelos [and with Pineda on board], they've got three young-gun studs who should pitch for them for a long time," the scout said. "And Nova's not that old and Hughes isn't that old.
"They've got the makings of a young, under-control staff."
Yeah, sure, why not? On a night on which the Yankees proved they're not sleeping through the winter, why not add to their opponents' misery just a little bit more?
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:31 pm
Of hurricanes, Orioles and White Sox ... which really aren't all that different, when you think about it:
FROM: Nick D.
Re.: Last-place Orioles remain stuck in familiar late-season rut
I started to read this article and then I stopped. ... Stop writing articles giving me hope for my woefully bad O's. I read these every year and every year they're the foundation holding up the AL East. Stop. Please. You people keep opening the same wound.
Next time I'll bring the cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Rain postponements taking toll on 2011 - then comes Irene
The fact that fans who purchased tickets to Saturday's games at Fenway Park had to wait out those delays is absurd. The greed of the organization is the reason. They did not want to have to cancel the games and reschedule, or God forbid they would have to offer refunds or tickets to an alternate game. To try to play those games through the hurricane was absurd. It is frustrating to read your articles because none of this is mentioned and you show an unreasonable bias to the Yankees. If it was the Yankees organization that did this, you would be the first one criticizing them.
The Red Sox were so greedy they let fans into Fenway for free following the rain delay in Game 2 Saturday.Appalling, wasn't it? It's called trying to make sure the games get played when there is precious little time left in the season to reschedule them, mister.
There is no reason to have rainouts anymore. If a small-market team like Seattle can have a retractable roof stadium, why haven't the BIG GUNS protected game revenues with new Stadiums, including retracting covers. Hellloooo Yankees!
Put a retractable roof on Yankee Stadium, the ghost of Babe Ruth will rip his plaque out of Monument Park and install it somewhere in Montana.
FROM: J D
Hey, Miller ... More Yankee bashing, huh? Shocking. And you're not right. Like Joe Girardi said, a lot of other games in baseball and other sports changed their schedules to be amenable to Hurricane Irene. They still could have played an actual DH, not split, and honored Flanagan -- which the Yankees did the night before in very good form, btw, before their game with the A's. Or they could have played a game on Saturday in the early morning before the storm hit. It's all about the fact of the O's not wanting to lose a gate in one of the rare times they would actually make some money with the Yankees in town. Now, the Yankees will have to use up one of their rare September off days to play a game in Baltimore after finishing up a three-game series with the aforementioned O's the very next day, and with a long West Coast road trip looming. ... And way not to mention the Red Sox's unwavering interest in getting both games in no matter what the weather to improve their standings and keep a September off day.
You lost credibility with the sentence "And you're not right." Because, fact is, I'm almost always right. Including on this topic.
FROM: Jack L.
Re.: Up-and-down White Sox look to final month to save season
I'm a lifelong, die-hard White Sox fan who literally follows the team hour by hour, not just day by day. You did a very nice job of summing this season up. The only difference between being a gawker checking out a freeway wreck in the other direction and watching the White Sox play this year is that the freeway wreck is at least somewhat interesting, even if you can't really see much of it. IMHO, Kenny Williams is clearly the guy that needs to go. Trader Kenny completely lost his touch with the first stinker of a Nick Swisher trade and has just made one bad move after another ever since save for unloading Edwin Jackson prior to the trade deadline.
At least don't follow the White Sox minute by minute. Think how miserable you'd be then.
Fire Kenny Williams, he sucks as a GM. It's been his signings that brought the White Sox four of the worst contracts in White Sox history. Let's not forget the Manny Ramirez deal last year as well after letting Jim Thome slip away. The Sox paid Ramirez multiple times what Thome was paid all year for one month of services. If not for Zambrano's and Soriano's contracts on the North Side, Williams would really be exposed for the horrible GM he has been. I think the players enjoy playing for Ozzie Guillen, and he has gotten a lot out his players considering the start the Sox have had in the last two years.
According to my Love Letters readers' poll, Williams' approval rating drastically trail those of Guillen.
FROM: Mike M.
Love your work. Love it if you could do a story about the Angels owner (Arte Moreno) vs. Scott Boras and include why Boras has that ground level box behind home plate at Anaheim Stadium. Boras looks like an idiot standing in the TV background of most pitches while he talks on his cell or works his laptop. As a Mariner fan I laugh thinking what Angels fans think about seeing him all the time.
It's a simple, economical issue: Boras' company purchases that ground-level suite with old-fashioned greenbacks. But while you may laugh, think of all the advertising that TV time translates into for hundreds of players who might be watching in other cities and contemplating what Boras could do for them.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Yanks getting stronger down the stretch
Scott, while I respect your opinion, how has the Yankees pitching been woeful? Their ERA is better than Detroit, Boston, and Texas's, their bullpen ERA is the best in baseball, and outside of A.J. Burnett, no one on that staff has been woeful outside of Phil Hughes before his injury. Right now, Ivan Nova and Hughes are pitching as well as anyone, CC Sabathia is an ace, and between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the Yankees have a respectable four starter for the playoffs. It just makes no sense why people are so quick to discredit the Yankees pitching without looking up the numbers.
If you read the column, and not just the headline and sub-head, you'd have your answer: I was EXAGGERATING, teasing Yankees' fans for being so quick to panic.
Likes: LA Marathon founder Bill Burke making a $1.2 billion bid for the Dodgers. It's funded in part by Chinese investors, and wow, think how much fun we all could have with THAT. Great take by Harold Meyerson in Friday's LA Times on the op-ed page: "There's no need to rehash the McCourts' destruction of one of American sports' most fabled and successful franchises. At this point, anyone who takes the team off their hands would be a better owner, right? Could there really be a more problematic proprietor? And then, along comes China." ... Absolutely loved Thursday's A-1 headline in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Obama jobs speech up against Packers opener." ... Good job, Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, getting on the board with a 12-6 win over New Boston Huron on Thursday after a tough opening week loss.
Dislikes: Sports Illustrated's rare regional covers. I know, business is business. But I'm old school and I don't like not having a particular cover.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"What's keeping you, keep pouring drinks
"For all these palookas, hey you know what I thinks
"That we toast to the old days and DiMaggio too
"And old Drysdale and Mantle, Whitey Ford and to you"
-- Tom Waits, A Sight For Sore Eyes
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 2:11 pm
The July trade market -- or, at the very least, Oakland's season -- has changed significantly: Athletics right-hander Ben Sheets has re-injured his troubled elbow, CBSSports.com has learned.
While the A's are in third place in the AL West at 48-48, currently 8 1/2 games behind first-place Texas, chatter around a Sheets trade has been increasing in recent starts.
Several scouts, notably from the Tigers and Phillies, have been in attendance at Sheets' recent outings. Though Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, has not recaptured his one-time ace stuff from his Milwaukee days, he's been intriguing enough to allow contenders to imagine him helping them.
One scout who watched Sheets warm up in the bullpen before Monday's start said Sheets threw very few warm-up pitches. And scouts who have watched him recently say he has been very reluctant to throw his breaking pitches in games.
"He had no velocity but he adds and subtracts," one scout who was in attendance to see Sheets on Monday told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. "He threw only five pitches over 90 [m.p.h]. He was pitching at 86-88.
"He still competes, though. You know what he is? Right now, he's Freddy Garcia."
And, sadly, right now, he's not even that.
Posted on: February 29, 2008 7:41 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2008 7:46 pm
TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Mets have discussed free agent starting pitcher Kyle Lohse and others internally, according to sources close to the Mets, and still may make a move to add starting pitching this spring.
Lohse remains the most attractive of a handful of starters who so far appear to have priced themselves out of business because he's only 29 and is coming off of a season in which he worked 192 innings and compiled a 4.62 ERA for Cincinnati and Philadelphia last season.
Among the other starters still unsigned: Jeff Weaver (31, 6.20 ERA for Seattle in '07), Freddy Garcia (32, coming off of shoulder surgery last August), Eric Milton (32, coming off of an injury-plagued year with Cincinnati) and David Wells (44, 157 innings pitched for San Diego and Los Angeles and a 5.12 ERA).
The Mets are said to be considering many options in the wake of acquiring ace Johan Santana, including beginning the season with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in the bullpen. The thinking there being that they could save him from wearing out by season's end if they limit his innings early, and maybe move him back into the rotation later in the year.
Among the other reasons the Mets continue to study free agent pitchers who are available: They're still not sure whether Mike Pelfrey (3-8, 5.57 ERA in 72 innings pitched last season) is seasoned enough for the big league rotation and though Pedro Martinez looks good this spring, he's no lock to stay healthy all season.
St. Louis is another club that could be in the market for pitching if Matt Clement's comeback lags. However, the Cardinals have indicated that their player payroll is maxed out. The Chicago Cubs also could be a player for Lohse or Weaver to add depth to a rotation that includes a couple of questions: One, whether Jason Marquis sticks all season and, two, whether Ryan Dempster's conversion from closer takes.
A couple of other notes:
-- The Florida Marlins have discussed adding oUtfielder Corey Patterson, a Scott Boras client like Lohse and Weaver, who remains unsigned. Cameron Maybin, one of the high-ceilinged prospects acquired from Detroit, is projected to start in center for the Marlins but there is some organizational concern that, at 20, and with only 49 big league at-bats, if he isn't ready, he could get buried. But it's more likely that the Marlins will go with Alejandro De Anza instead of Patterson. De Anza made the Marlins out of camp last spring but suffered a broken ankle after nine games and missed much of the rest of the season.
-- The Cubs-Baltimore Brian Roberts trade talks continue to simmer and the possibility remains that Roberts could be a Cub by opening day. Chicago scouts continue to track Roberts.
Likes: Gorgeous cover on the Pittsburgh media guide this year, an evening shot of PNC Park with lights reflecting off of the Allegheny River. ... Manny Sanguillen in camp, same winning smile. ... ELO's Mr. Blue Sky on the public address system before Friday's clash-of-Pennsylvania, Phillies-Pirates Grapefruit League game. ... This line from Alan Schwarz in a New York Times story on the Pirates: "... their roster's somnolence is marked by how their most recent signee, pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim, is a virtual narcoleptic." ... Mixon Fruit Farm in Bradenton, which has become a must-stop for lunch along the trails. The orange juice, as you might suspect, is out of this world, and so was the tropical milkshake featuring fresh oranges, pineapples and cherries.
Sunblock day? We're getting there, with temps finally reaching the 70s. Still, it was in the 40s early Friday morning and a chilly breeze persisted for most of the morning. We can only hope that the horror of this "cold-weather" snap is behind us now.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"I got shackles on my wrists
-- Bruce Springsteen, Magic