Posted on: October 12, 2011 8:32 pm
Looking to begin re-stocking a gutted front office, the Angels have received permission from the New York Yankees to speak with two key members of general manager Brian Cashman's staff.
Damon Oppenheimer, 49, long-time Yankees' executive who currently is executive vice-president for amateur scouting, and Billy Eppler, 35, the club's pro scouting director, will interview with the Angels as the club looks to replace Tony Reagins, according to a major-league source.
Tim Mead, executive vice-president of communication for the Angels, would neither confirm nor deny that the Angels approached the Yankees about Oppenheimer and Eppler.
"We have initiated the start of the search process and will be speaking to some clubs," Mead said Wednesday night.
The opening was created when the Angels fired Tony Reagins as GM earlier this month. In a thorough gutting, the Angels also this month fired Reagins' top two assistants, Ken Forsch and Gary Sutherland, scouting director Abe Flores and longtime scout Rich Schlenker.
It also is believed that Jerry DiPoto, Arizona's senior vice-president of scouting and player development, is on the Angels' short list of candidates.
Mead did not list a timetable for when the Angels would like to have a new GM in place.
"We're going to be very thorough and do everything possible to find the right person," Mead said. "We will take the time it takes to select the right person."
Posted on: October 7, 2011 8:54 pm
MILWAUKEE -- This might be a beer town, but they will take champagne. Oh yes they will. Especially when it's the first postseason champagne they've sprayed in 29 hard, lean years.
Especially when it's a team as free-spirited and beloved as this year's Brewers, who drew three million fans to Miller Park this summer and, with a scintillating 3-2, 10-inning Game 5 win over the Diamondbacks on Friday, earned the privilege to draw several thousand more over the next 10 or so days.
National League Championship Series, here they come.
First time ever.
Not since 1982 have the Brewers moved to within one step of the World Series, and back then, they were in the American League. And yes, they advanced to the Fall Classic, where they fell to St. Louis.
Since then, it's been 29 Octobers of raking the leaves and cheering for the Packers.
What a game, what a season.
To hold on and win, Milwaukee's bullpen had to face down an Arizona team with 48 come-from-behind wins, most in the majors this year. But the Brewers' bullpen is so good, it hadn't blown a lead after the seventh inning since July 4.
There was tension, there was sweat, there was nail biting.
And for the first time since 1982, the result was a win in a postseason series.
The Brewers won this last winter, when they decided to keep Prince Fielder and swing for the fences in 2011. They won it when the acquired Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. Won it in July, when they landed closer-turned-setup-man Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets the night of the All-Star Games.
And they won it with one out in the 10th when Nyjer Morgan drove a 2-2 pitch against Arizona closer J.J. Putz up the middle, scoring Carlos Gomez from second.
Miller Park immediately went crazy, blue and gold confetti papering the place.
What a game, what a season. Next stop: NLCS.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 12:10 am
This Dan Johnson character ... c'mon.
He's not real, is he?
He can't be. Because what he did on Thursday night ... again ... was beyond fiction. He stepped to the plate batting .108, with Tampa Bay's season down to its final strike ... and he did it again?
He sliced a low liner of a gloriously colorful Tampa Bay rainbow that rifled into the seats just inside the right-field foul line to push the game into the 10th.
Then Mr. Triple Play, Evan Longoria, took it from there in the 12th, smashing a game-winning homer against Yankees reliever Scott Proctor within 10 minutes of Boston blowing one, final game in Baltimore.
And just like that, Tampa Bay's in.
Just moments after St. Louis staged the greatest comeback ever when Atlanta lost, the Rays topped them.
Tampa Bay's in.
It was unreal, unbelievable and for so long for the Rays, unattainable. They trailed 7-0 by the fifth. They were still trailing 7-0 in the eighth. Then they scored six runs, then came Johnson in the ninth and. ...
Dan Johnson? The guy is like the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus. Daniel Ryan Johnson. In his fourth season, 31 years old. He shows up once or twice a year and ... wham!
When the Rays were staging their miracle World Series run in 2008, he clobbered a huge, late-season home run against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in Fenway Park at a time when the young Rays were trying to believe in themselves. The homer sent the game into extra innings.
He belted a game-winning home run against Boston's Scott Atchison at Tropicana Field last August that helped the Rays' playoff bid.
He crushed two go-ahead home runs against Phil Hughes and the Yankees last September that helped pave the Rays' way to last October even more.
That should have been enough, right? I mean, who does this kind of thing? Who does he think he is, Gates Brown?
On one of the most exhilarating nights of baseball in memory, the playoff field is set.
Detroit at the Yankees and, incredibly, Tampa Bay at Texas.
And Arizona at Milwaukee and, yes, incredibly, St. Louis at Philadelphia.
Posted on: September 21, 2011 6:04 pm
I wrote a 9/11 rembrance column on President Bush's first pitch at the World Series, and then you wrote. And you wrote. And you were so touching, I wanted to share some of your thoughts. So if you don't mind, I'm going to roll the tape here, stand aside and skip my usual replies. ...
Re.: Bush walked out alone -- with a whole country beside him
The article you wrote on President Bush's first pitch after 9/11 was phenomenal. You powerfully evoked all of the emotions I felt that night watching him tell our country and our enemy that we can handle any pressure or obstacle. Thanks for that.
FROM: Robert B.
You captured the moment. I'm a 64-year-old, life-time Red Sox fan who was proud to be an American that night ... and every day since!
FROM: Brian S.
Bush walked out alone -- awesome article, simply awesome. Nice work.
FROM: Ruth L.
FROM: Kevin F.
I loved your article about President George W. Bush's first pitch before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. The perfect strike symbolism didn't escape me at the time and it resonates 10 years later. Thank you for reminding me what a moving and inspiring moment it was. And Jeter is one funny you-know-what.
FROM: Steve O.
I have tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat.
Based on how Obama threw the pitch at the All-Star Game (in St. Louis in 2009), let's be glad he wasn't out there trying to throw the ball.
FROM: Neal J.
As we look back, we see that Bush had one singular response to the horrific attack, to start a meaningless war and to pitch a baseball. He and his pals are laughing all the way to the bank.
FROM: Joe L.
Thanks for such a well-delivered, poignant article. It is a good brick in the wall of remembrance. Evil can take away a lot what is precious, including the lives of the innocent, but it cannot touch our freedom. Thank God for all the strong and the brave who still stand up for it.
FROM: Mark H.
It moved me to tears thinking back about that night. In some ways, I wish we could go back to that feeling where we were a true United States.
Damn right it was a strike. Thank you for this article. It reminded me how important it was to do what he did. We forget how he helped bring unity as a leader. No matter what anyone says, we had never been through a moment like that before Pearl Harbor, then 9/11. Nobody can talk about how it was to be in that position but him.
FROM: Ian M.
An absolutely awesome column. That pitch for me ranks one step higher than Kirk Gibson's HR in the 1988 World Series. A single first pitch that gave the nation a sense of strength and unity. Unbelievable!
The best article I've read on this, or any other, site. Beautifully written, Mr. Miller.
Likes: Where the Yankees stand on things was exhibited again when Derek Jeter said after the team clinched a playoff spot in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday that there would be no celebrating. To the Yankees, it's about the AL East title -- and the World Series. ... Oakland giving manager Bob Melvin a three-year contract. He'll help the Athletics. ... Looking forward to seeing Moneyball. I'm sure I'll have some issues with it, but my I hear its very well done and the writing is snappy -- which is no surprise, with Aaron Sorkin writing the script. ... If you're on I-94 driving between Chicago and Milwaukee, pull off the freeway for lunch at the Mars Cheese Castle. Great cheese, lots of free samples, terrific deli and, hey ... bottom line is, you can tell everyone you've been to the Mars Cheese Castle. ... Both Gino's East and Giordano's deep dish pizza in Chicago. ... Bob Seger on iTunes. ... Glad to see Hawaii Five-O back for a new season. Fun show. ... Here We Rest, the disc from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit that was released in the spring, is fantastic. You should check it out.
Dislikes: That is one ugly new logo for the Florida Marlins. ... The massive conference re-alignment/expansion scramble. All of these colleges should be ashamed of themselves, throwing traditional rivalries away like used napkins to flee for big paydays. ... Rough start for the Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central. They're 1-2 so far, with, hopefully, a win on deck against Milan this week.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I've been stuck here in this town, if you call it that, a year or two
"I never do what I'm supposed to do. I don't even need a name anymore,
"No one calls it out, kind of vanishes away
"No one gives a damn about the things I give a damn about
"The liberties that we can't do without seem to disappear like ghost in the air
"We don't even care, Until it vanishes away"
-- Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Alabama Pines
Posted on: August 23, 2011 11:22 pm
It's not necessarily the path to the NL West title. But it was not surprising to see aggressive, first-year Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers strike a deal Monday as Arizona's tenuous hold on first place shrinks.
The Diamondbacks were absolutely pasted on their current trip by NL pennant contenders Philadelphia and Atlanta, dropping two of three to the Phillies and losing all three to the Braves.
Will Tuesday's acquisitions of shortstop John McDonald and second baseman Aaron Hill from Toronto reverse that trend? Let's just say a shift in the schedule, away from the two best teams in the NL, will be the biggest help.
But it's all hands on deck now as the Diamondbacks work to keep baseball's biggest surprise story going, and both Hill and McDonald should help.
In McDonald's case, Arizona is still trying to plug the hole at shortstop left when Stephen Drew fractured his ankle a month ago. And in Hill, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson now has another hand to play at second base in place of Kelly Johnson, whose fuel tank appears on "E". Johnson, since the All-Star break, is hitting .181/.246/.324.
Hill isn't exactly tearing it up (.225/.270/.313), and his OPS is second-worst in the American League (his .584 ranks 150th of 152 players with at least 400 plate appearances). But he's a better contact hitter than Johnson and hit a combined 62 homers for Toronto in 2009 and 2010. In Arizona's thin air and homer-friendly park, maybe Hill can run into a few.
The Diamondbacks need something, and quickly. Their 2-0 win in Washington on Tuesday snapped a six-game losing streak. The ugly corollary to that: When Sean Burroughs cracked his first homer since April 30, 2005 -- a two-run blast -- they were the Diamondbacks' first runs scored in 32 innings.
During their six-game losing streak, Arizona batted a combined .153 with only seven runs scored, three doubles, a triple, three homers, 17 walks and 55 strikeouts. Ugly.
This just after new acquisition Jason Marquis, acquired to help eat innings and serve as a veteran anchor in the rotation, blew out for the season with a fractured leg.
Things could have gone from bad to worse Tuesday when slugger Justin Upton, having a career year, left in the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch in the left elbow. Early reports -- a bad bruise, no break -- are encouraging, but if Upton is slowed, that will make things even more difficult.
As things now stand, once the Diamondbacks leave Washington following Thursday's game, 29 of Arizona's final 32 games are against NL West clubs (with a three-game set at home against Pittsburgh mixed in).
Will that help? Hard to say: Arizona is 23-21 against NL West opponents this season. What might help most is this: Arizona plays 19 of its final 32 at home, and the Diamondbacks are 36-26 in Bank One Ballpark so far this season.
Likes: Two bumper stickers I've seen recently. The first: "My Child Was Student of the Month at Pedro's Tacos." The second: "Whassup haters?" Love the first one. ... Cool summer in Southern California, but it's warmed up this week and I got out for a bike ride along the ocean Tuesday. And it was beautiful.
Dislikes: An earthquake in Washington, D.C.? What's next, a damn blizzard in Los Angeles?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"She wrote a long letter
"On a short piece of paper"
-- Traveling Wilburys, Margarita
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:03 am
You bet the rumors swirling around his Tampa Bay batting helmet have gotten B.J. Upton's attention.
"Thanks for all the support on twitter - I appreciate it," he tweeted from his @BJUPTON2 account Tuesday -- presumably as Atlanta, or Cincinnati, or San Francisco phoned Rays general manager Andrew Friedman yet again.
"Now I know how my brother felt this offseason," came another tweet from Upton. "Anyone hear any good trade rumors this week? Still here!"
Matter of fact, the buzz grew louder Tuesday surrounding Upton. Several industry sources believe that the Rays, at 9 1/2 games out in the AL East, will dump Upton by Sunday's non-waiver trading deadline the same way they dumped Matt Garza and bade farewell to free agents Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Grant Balfour last winter.
Money -- the lack of it, thanks in no small part to horrible attendance in Tropicana Field -- remains a significant problem for the Rays. And it's not getting any better.
Several clubs are looking for the kind of spark that Upton (.229, 15 homers, 53 RBIs, 23 steals, terrific defense) can provide. He would fit perfectly in San Francisco, especially if the Giants fall short in their quest to obtain the Mets' Carlos Beltran. The Giants, according to sources, have interest. So, too, do the Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Braves, Cardinals and, possibly, the Phillies writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
And B.J. is right -- brother Justin, Arizona's right-fielder -- went through a similar stretch last winter.
"I've talked to him, and we laugh about it," Justin told me Tuesday afternoon. "When it comes down to it, like last winter with me, it's out of your control. You just have to do your thing, see what happens and let it be."
Difference is, Arizona is committed to Justin Upton, 23. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers made that clear last winter when he traded third baseman Mark Reynolds to Baltimore.
The Rays? Not so much with B.J., 26 -- much to Upton's chagrin.
"Obviously, he's played his whole career there and he lives there," says Justin, who said the brothers probably talk four or five times a week. "He wants to stay. It's always tough in a situation like that."
Ubaldo Jimenez to Yankees?
The Yankees appear to be in the best shape to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez if the Rockies decide to deal him, as colleague Danny Knobler writes. Here are takes from two scouts who have watched Jimenez pitch in recent days:
Scout one: "Quite frankly, he's not the same guy as he was last year. Before, when he needed to go get it, he'd hit 100 m.p.h. When I saw him in Denver, he'd reach back to muscle up and it was 95. [Atlanta's] Scott Proctor threw harder. If Ubaldo at sea level is 91, 92, 93, he's not the same guy."
Scout two: "I can't imagine Jimenez going anywhere. If he's on a real frickin' contender, he's a No. 3 right now. Something's missing."
Short hops, quick pops and backhand stops:
--Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he thinks Friday and Saturday will be the key days when the trade market loosens up and the action begins. "There are a lot of clubs out there with scouts looking at minor league clubs right now," Towers says.
-- While you might think they're looking to replace injured shortstop Stephen Drew, Towers says he is looking for pitching, pitching and pitching. Starting and/or relief.
-- The Giants, Rangers and Phillies have scouts in Cincinnati this week watching Mets' outfielder Carlos Beltran as New York GM Sandy Alderson enters the crucial final days before making one of the more significant decisions in recent Mets history. "Beltran looks real good right now," another scout who has been watching in Cincinnati this week says. "He's looking healthy."
-- One club that has spoken with Washington say closer Drew Storen can be obtained in the right deal.
-- Rival clubs say the Angels are diving into the trade market after owner Arte Moreno, hesitant at first, now has approved additional payroll for midseason help. While the Angels are looking for a third baseman, they would send shortstop Erick Aybar to the Mets for Jose Reyes straight up and take the rest of Reyes' $9 million 2011 salary if New York would bite (the Mets won't, they're keeping Reyes). "I'd do that if I'm the Mets," one NL executive says. "They're not going to be able to re-sign him. How can you give Reyes 10 years at $20 million [each] when he's hurt all the time?
-- Minnesota doggedly has insisted it can win a weak AL Central for the past month, and Tuesday night's comeback win in Texas was a big one. If the Twins do decide to become sellers, don't be surprised if they make outfielder Delmon Young available.
-- Well, in a weak market for starting pitchers, look who's coming off of the disabled list to start Friday for Seattle: Erik Bedard. He'll start against Tampa Bay unless something happens between now and Friday, and you can bet the scouts will swarm Safeco Field. Bedard has not thrown more than 100 innings in a season since 2007. He's at 90 now, so look out.
-- Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey continues to draw interest and Minnesota is expected to deal him.
-- The Marlins are looking to add, not subtract, and do not intend to deal closer Leo Nunez unless blown away with an offer. Florida is moving into a new stadium next season and has not gained near the momentum they had hoped this summer.
-- About that odd timing of Milwaukee acquiring closer Francisco Rodriguez and announcing it just after the All-Star Game ended? Rodriguez's former agent Paul Kinzer had failed to submit proper paperwork for K-Rod's 10-team no-trade list -- Milwaukee was on it -- and with K-Rod having hired Scott Boras recently, Mets GM Sandy Alderson was afraid Boras would correct the oversight. That's why, once the Mets and Brewers agreed to the deal, Alderson wanted it finalized as soon as possible, afraid that if they waited even one more day, Boras would get the list in and K-Rod would have power to scotch the deal.
-- Wonder what's taking so long for the trades to happen this week? Wonder why you read some rumors that turn out to be badly off the trail? Some insight from legendary executive Pat Gillick's Hall of Fame speech on Sunday: "As a young scout I, remember hiding up in trees with binoculars so no other scout would know I was interested in a prospect. I remember the assumed names or clever tactics we all used to get an edge and throw others off the scent."
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, B.J. Upton, Carlos Beltran, Drew Storen, Erik Bedard, Florida Marlins, Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Upton, Kevin Slowey, Kevin Towers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Pat Gillick, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals
Posted on: July 22, 2011 12:48 am
The first step of Stephen Drew's recovery came Thursday when the Arizona shortstop underwent surgery in Phoenix less than 24 hours after breaking his right ankle in a grotesque play when he was sliding into home plate during a game against the Brewers.
Though Drew is expected to miss the rest of the season, the news was a little brighter Thursday as doctors said they expect a full recovery.
According to a statement from Diamondbacks physician Dr. Michael Lee: "Stephen Drew underwent orthopedic surgery in Phoenix this afternoon to repair a severe right ankle injury he suffered yesterday. Dr. Peter Mitchell MD performed internal plating to the fibula bone and repair of the ligaments torn as his cleats caught the ground twisting the ankle awkwardly. All went as expected, and we are optimistic for a full recovery.”
Meantime, infielder Cody Ransom joined the Diamondbacks on Thursday after being summoned from Triple-A Reno to replace Drew on the roster. Ransom was hitting .331 for Reno with 26 homers, 28 doubles, three triples and 89 RBI in 92 games.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 8:06 am
Arizona and Houston so far figure most prominently in speculation regarding any scenario baseball would consider as a realignment plan.
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said Tuesday that his club has not been approached about moving to the American League by any baseball officials and that he does not expect to be approached.
"We'll always do what's in the best interests of baseball," Hall says. "However, you'd like to gauge the way our fans feel and the way our ownership feels, too.
"I'm a purist. I like the National League strategy. If it was my choice, I'd say we'll stay right where we're at."
Hall said he has had no indication of any realignment coming anytime soon.
"I've had no indication that they're planning on it, or that they will do it," Hall says. "I'd be surprised if we were approached. If someone wanted us to look into it, we would.
"The best interests of baseball are the most important thing, but I need to balance that with what's in the best interest of our fans."