Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 11:29 pm
It's a long way from job offered and job accepted, but the Astros on Tuesday obtained permission from Tampa Bay to speak with general manager Andrew Friedman, sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.
New Astros owner Jim Crane, wasting no time after a firing GM Ed Wade and president of baseball operations Tal Smith, is setting his sights on the man widely considered to be one of the top executives in the game. That Friedman is only 35 and is a Houston native are both happy coincidences -- and, as for Friedman's hometown, one huge chip the Astros apparently hope they can cash in.
With Friedman in the GM's seat, Tampa Bay has won two AL East titles in the past four seasons. The Rays also earned an American League wild-card berth another of those years. The Red Sox, by comparison, have won only one AL East title in the past 16 seasons.
Friedman also spoke with the Angels earlier this winter, though he never reached the point where he waded too deeply into the interview process in either place. He absolutely loves his situation in Tampa Bay with owner Stuart Sternberg, club president Matt Silverman and manager Joe Maddon, according to multiple sources, and is not looking to leave.
Whether the pull of his hometown Astros would be enough will be determined in the near future, though sources indicate that it still would be a surprise if Friedman does leave his current situation. With the baseball winter meetings convening next week in Dallas, Houston is looking to move quickly -- though the Astros almost certainly will not have a new man on the job by then.
News that the Astros have obtained permission from the Rays to speak with Friedman was first reported by Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 12:35 am
ANAHEIM, Calif -- Highlights have been few and far between for the 2011 Chicago White Sox, but Paul Konerko put up one for the books when he cracked his 2,000th career hit in the eighth inning of Tuesday's series opener here.
The hit surely was especially meaningful to Konerko in that it was an RBI single against Ervin Santana that tied the game at 4-4 at a point in the season where the White Sox are desperate for every run, every win they can get. Konerko, a beloved figure on Chicago's South Side and widely respected throughout the game, becomes only the 13th player in club history to collect his 2,000th hit.
It's been a boom season for the 2,000-hit club: Konerko is the sixth man to join that club this summer. Previously this summer, Houston's Carlos Lee, San Francisco's Orlando Cabrera (then with the Indians), Cincinnati's Scott Rolen, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Texas' Michael Young each collected his 2,000th hit.
The White Sox dugout immediately erupted in cheers, then most of the players began waving for the baseball as soon as the play concluded with Alejandro De Aza crossing the plate. With the game 4-4, White Sox manager removed Konerko, who was DHing, for pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge.
Konerko also is at 393 career homers and soon could become only the sixth active player with 400 homers and 2,000 hits, joining Pujols, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta's Chipper Jones, Baltimore's Vladimir Guerrero and Minnesota's Jim Thome.
Tags: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Carlos Lee, Chicago White Sox, Chipper Jones, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Jim Thome, Michael Young, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Orlando Cabrera, Paul Konerko, San Francisco Giants, Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Vladimir Guerrero
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 6:20 pm
Looking for an outfield bat, the Braves are engaging the Padres in trade discussions regarding Ryan Ludwick, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.
Ludwick is not the only outfielder with whom the Braves are exploring a trade, but they are described as having significant interest in the 33-year-old. The Braves also have talked about Oakland's Josh Willingham, the White Sox's Carlos Quentin, Houston's Hunter Pence and Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton.
The difference is that Ludwick and Willingham will cost less than Pence, Quentin and Upton.
Ludwick was held out of San Diego's lineup Thursday afternoon against Arizona, though manager Bud Black brushed off any suggestion that it was because a trade was imminent. The Padres acquired Ludwick from St. Louis at last year's trade deadline during a surprising season in which they won 90 games.
However, Ludwick was a bitter disappointment down the stretch in 2010 (.211, six homers, 26 RBIs in 239 plate appearances). While he's been better in 2011 (.238, 11, 62 in 412 plate appearances), he clearly is not in San Diego's future plans. A free agent this winter, it is believed that Ludwick will seek something in the neighborhood of a three-year deal. With his game not translating well in Petco Park, the Padres are not interested.
Willingham is hitting .240 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs for an Oakland team that long ago fell out of the race this summer.
There are two problems with the White Sox's Quentin, whom the Braves really like and have serious interest in:
One, he's more expensive than Ludwick or Willingham, according to sources. And, two, the Tigers apparently refuse to allow the White Sox to become full-blown sellers. Detroit lost again on Thursday, this time to the Angels, allowing idle Chicago to pull to within three games of the AL Central lead despite a 51-52 record. The White Sox are only two games behind Detroit in the loss column.
As for Pence, his market has exploded since San Francisco traded for Carlos Beltran. My colleague Danny Knobler writes that the Braves, Phillies and several other clubs checked in with the Astros on Thursday.
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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."
Posted on: July 30, 2010 11:13 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 11:29 pm
The Yankees are moving quickly toward filling in the cracks in their roster: They acquired outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland within hours after reaching an agreement with Houston to bring Lance Berkman aboard.
The Yankees will send Cleveland a player to be named later or cash to complete the deal.
Kearns, 30, was hitting .272 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 84 games for the Indians this season and adds depth to the Yankees' stable of outfielders.
Kearns gives manager Joe Girardi another option in left field, where Curtis Granderson has struggled badly against left-handed pitching this season. Granderson, into Friday, was hitting just .214 against lefties with a .286 slugging percentage.
Kearns, meantime, is hitting .250 against lefties this year.
"A corner outfielder that gives us depth and experience," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters in Tampa, where New York was playing the Rays, on Friday night. "A right-handed bat that has power. We can use him a lot of different ways. It will give me a chance to rest our left-handed guys."
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was thrilled to hear that both Kearns and Houston's Lance Berkman soon will be in the clubhouse as reinforcements for the stretch drive.
"That's great," Teixeira told reporters. "Two quality guys. I know both of them real well. They're both great guys. It's going to be good for the clubhouse."
Posted on: July 30, 2010 6:42 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 11:24 pm
The trade is not expected to become official until Saturday because of a technicality -- Berkman has to waive no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 man, a player who has been in the majors for 10 years, the last five with the same team. But he has agreed to do so, according to a major-league official, and, barring a last-minute change of mind, Berkman will officially become a Yankee on Saturday.
In return, Houston is expected to receive two prospect, neither of them high-level. Several reports have pegged them as reliever Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes. The Astros also reportedly have agreed to pay roughly $4 million of the $7 million owed Berkman.
The move fills a DH need for the Yankees, who earlier this season lost Nick Johnson to a right wrist injury, likely for the summer. It also gives them a bit more depth.
But make no mistake, this is nowhere close to an in-his-prime Berkman. At 34 now and a life-long Astro, Berkman was hitting .245 with 13 homers and 49 RBI. In 358 plate appearances this season, Berkman has struck out 70 times and walked 60.
He's also hitting only .188 against left-handers this season with one homer in 64 at-bats. But he gives the Yankees a veteran bat, be it from the DH slot or off the bench, which they hope will aid them down the stretch.
Berkman is due roughly $5 million this season with a club option for $15 million -- or a $2 million buyout -- for 2011. It is not yet clear what the Astros will receive in return, but they are not expected to receive high-level prospects for Berkman. Also unclear is how much of the $7 million or so Berkman is owed will be picked up by Houston.
As for why the deal must wait until Saturday even though Berkman already has agreed to waive his no-trade powers, as Joel Sherman explains in the New York Post, Article 19 of the Basic Agreement provides that trades involving players with 10-and-5 rights cannot be announced until 24 hours after the player gives his consent.
Berkman, who was held out of Friday night's lineup against Milwaukee, would not confirm that he agreed to the deal earlier Friday.
"I'm from Texas," Berkman told reporters in Houston on Friday night. "Heck, I played at Rice. This city is like the womb. I feel very comfortable here. To think about the possibility of going anywhere else is kind of scary.
"My ideal situation is to win a title here. If this organization feels those aims are better accomplished by trying to strip down this roster and reload with younger guys, I don't want to stand in the way of that."
One other Houston icon who was traded in recent days, pitcher Roy Oswalt, thinks the move to New York will rejuvenate his old teammate.
"I think it would be good for him," Oswalt told reporters in Washington on Friday after making his first start for Philadelphia since the Phillies acquired him from Houston on Thursday. "Sometimes you get a change of scenery [and] it turns you all the way around. Sometimes you get in a rut of doing the same thing over and over again."
Berkman acknowledged that Astros general manager Ed Wade approached him two days ago with a list of "probably eight teams" that had expressed interest in the 12-year veteran.
"There were four yeas and four nays," Berkman said.
In the end, as we've seen in the past, the Bronx came up with the biggest yea.
"You don't always get to pick how you leave an organization," Berkman said. "If and when it comes time to move on, I'll do it with as much grace as I can muster."
Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 11:10 pm
The Dodgers made a trade Wednesday, but it wasn't one to strengthen their rotation and solve their dilemma of who's going to start Saturday against San Francisco.
Instead, they struck for an outfielder, acquiring veteran Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for a couple of minor-league prospects while continuing their search for a starting pitcher.
As for whether the Dodgers will be able to add a starter by Saturday's trade deadline -- they've inquired about Houston's Roy Oswalt and the Cubs' Ted Lilly, among others -- general manager Ned Colletti said it's still too early to know.
"Tough to tell," Colletti said early Wednesday evening. "You take it as it comes. This deal [Podsednik] came about. You don't have to put it in order. You get them done when you can."
Looking to beef up their versatility and add depth with Manny Ramirez disabled with a strained calf, the Dodgers sent two minor leaguers -- Triple-A catcher Lucas May and Double-A right-hander Elisaul Pimentel -- to the Royals for Podsedik. No money exchanged hands -- the Dodgers will pay the roughly $600,000 owed to Podsednik for the remainder of the year. His contract includes a $2 million club option for 2011 or a $100,000 buyout.
It's not a blockbuster deal, but with Ramirez on the DL for a third time this season and with the Dodgers running third in the NL West, the acquisition of Podsednik at least gives manager Joe Torre another option. Especially with another outfielder, Reed Johnson, also on the disabled list with a back injury and not expected to return for at least three or four more weeks.
"He brings a lot of different things to the club," Colletti said. "He's a good hitter -- his average is over .300 -- he drives in a lot of runs for hitting in a high spot in the order, he has speed, he can add a lot of different dimensions to the club.
"That he played on a World Series winner in Chicago a few years ago is also a plus."
In 94 games for Kansas City this season, Podsednik hit .310 and stole 30 bases. He also posted a .352 on-base percentage.
The Dodgers hope Podsednik arrives in San Diego in time for Thursday's 3:35 p.m. PDT start. He'll bring a 15-game hitting streak with him.
Meantime, the Dodgers right now are going with "to be determined" as the starter opposite San Francisco's Barry Zito on Saturday. Likely, it will be right-hander John Ely, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on July.
Unless, of course, Colletti pulls a rabbit out of his cap for the Dodgers on the trade market.
Posted on: June 10, 2010 3:57 pm
The Mets were busy finishing up with San Diego for 2010 during Thursday's day-night doubleheader, which means as Jose Reyes takes his speed game toward the next destination, the cat-and-mouse between him and Padres catcher Nick Hundley will go on hiatus until 2011.
The games-within-the-games are always fascinating, and I bring up Hundley here for one simple reason:
For his career, Reyes was a perfect 22 for 22 in stolen bases until Hundley threw him out at second base in the fifth inning of a game in San Diego on June 1.
"Oh, I didn't know that!" the charismatic Reyes said enthusiastically when I informed him that he had been perfect against the Padres to that point.
Then, he grinned and added: "I think I was safe. I don't even know that he tagged me in time."
What makes Reyes especially dangerous on the bases, Hundley said, is that he's so sneaky.
"He's really quiet," Hundley says. "To me, it looks like he's the same on every pitch.
"That trait is good to have if you're a base stealer. When you're cat-like, you don't give anything away."
Most base-stealers, Hundley said, give something away with their body language. A lean-toward-second here. A hand-movement there.
"There are some great base-stealers," Hundley said. "[Houston's] Michael Bourn, Reyes. But Reyes, for me, is a little different. He takes a walking lead. There's a little more rhythm. Bourn flat-out burns. Reyes is casual. He'll lull you to sleep."
Reyes said it's something he's worked on for years, and when the Mets brought Rickey Henderson in as a coach a few years ago, that learning process accelerated.
"I try to pick my spots, and I don't want to be too anxious," Reyes said. "If I'm anxious, they'll say, 'He's going to go at one point.' I try to be quiet. I learned that.
"When I was younger, I used to be crazy, like I wanted to go on every pitch."
Reyes led the NL in steals from 2005-2007, but since serious hamstring troubles have plagued him over the past couple of seasons, being quiet and cat-like on the bases is more important than ever to his success rate. And, by definition, to that of the Mets: They're 19-6 when he scores this season, and 267-110 (.708) in games since 2005 when he scores.
"He's smooth, he doesn't force it and he runs in good spots," Hundley said.
And he gives no clues that he may just take off for second or third in the next second.
"If you find a tip," Hundley said, "let me know."
Likes: OK, you healthy people in the crowd, here's PETA's ranking this year of baseball's most vegetarian-friendly ballparks (and it's entertaining that the city best known for Philly cheesesteaks ranks first): 1. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. 2. AT&T Park, San Francisco. 3. Minute Maid Park, Houston. 4. Comerica Park, Detroit. 5. Coors Field, Colorado. ... TBS switching from Phillies-Boston to Nationals-Indians for their Sunday afternoon game of the weeke this weekend. They must really think a lot of rookie Nats reliever Drew Storen. Ah, wait, that's Stephen Strasburg's day to pitch. ... Cardinals rookie third baseman David Freese is a friendly and earnest kid -- and plenty talented. ... Last day of school. ... First day of summer vacation. ... A former Miss America playing Mrs. George Custer for Monroe's celebration of the 100th anniversary of it's lovely Gen. George Armstrong Custer statue.
Dislikes: Just how wacked out are Frank and Jamie McCourt? Answer: Very, very, extremely wacked out.
"Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind