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Tag:San Diego Padres
Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Hoyer to join Epstein with Cubs, Byrnes new SD GM

The Red Sox-Cubs soap opera spins forward as the clubs haggle over compensation, but the general parameters of a deal that will affect three clubs are in place, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations:

Not only will Theo Epstein take control of the Cubs, he will take Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, one of Hoyer's assistant general managers in San Diego, with him. Josh Byrnes, the former Arizona general manager who currently is San Diego's senior vice-president for baseball operations, will replace Hoyer as the new Padres' GM. Ben Cherington, Epstein's top assistant, will succeed him as GM in Boston.

While Epstein will receive a five-year deal worth $18.5 million, Hoyer, likewise, is expected to receive a five-year contract with a significant bump in pay from his current salary as incentive to move. Hoyer currently is signed with the Padres through 2013, with and the club holds an option on him for 2014.

While Epstein would hold a presidency role, it would be a lateral move for Hoyer. However, he would be reunited with his very close friend, Epstein, and he would have large-market resources at his disposal.

The deal could be announced as early as Friday, though one source says that "a lot would have to happen" for everything to be put in place by then. As of late Thursday, particularly with Boston still holding up the Epstein part of the deal over steep compensation demands from the Cubs, it seemed realistic that these talks could spill into next week before things are finalized.

As of early Thursday evening, the Cubs had neither asked permission from Major League Baseball to hold a news conference on Friday, a World Series off day, nor had they asked permission from the Padres to speak with Hoyer.

Compensation issues are not limited to the Cubs and Red Sox in this elaborate game of executive hopscotch, either. Not only will the Cubs pay Boston for the right to take Epstein -- either financially or via players -- the Padres also are expected to be compensated by the Cubs for allowing Hoyer to break his contract.

That part, however, is not expected to be nearly as difficult a transaction as that which the Cubs are attempting to complete with Boston. San Diego most likely will receive one or two lower-level minor leaguers in return.

As for the Cubs and Red Sox, one source said Thursday night that he thought the two clubs were "getting close" on the compensation issues, though those talks have been ongoing for several days with Boston delighting in holding the sledgehammer.

Both Hoyer and McLeod worked under Epstein in Boston before they left the Red Sox for San Diego following the 2009 season. Hoyer was one of Epstein's top assistants and McLeod was director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox.

Under McLeod, among others, the Red Sox drafted outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right-hander Clay Buccholz and infielder Jed Lowrie.

Byrnes was one of Epstein's right-hand men for three seasons in Boston, a time during which the Red Sox drafted Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, before the Diamondbacks hired him to become their GM in October, 2005.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:25 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 3:26 am
 

NLCS MVP Freese having breakout autumn

MILWAUKEE -- The wordplay is irresistible: Mr. Freese. The Iceman. Freese It. Freese Frame.

All we need now is for Cardinals third baseman David Freese to grow into a star. And with his NL Championship Series MVP, he's taken a long leap in that direction over these past several days.

"There are a lot of guys who have talent," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said as the celebration hit full-blast in the winning clubhouse Sunday night. "To be successful in this league, you've got to be tough and you've got to have good character.

"He is very tough. He's had bad breaks with his ankle and his feet, but this guy is very tough. If he can stay healthy, he's going to be a star year-in and year-out. I'm talking about a clutch, clutch star."

That's what Freese looked like against the Brewers. He hit safely in all six games, collected multiple hits in four of them and, by the final out in Game 6, was hitting a sizzling .545 (12 for 22) with three doubles, three homers, nine RBI and six runs scored.

Though the Brewers battled and eventually cut St. Louis' lead to one run, Freese's three-run, first-inning homer against Shaun Marcum essentially put Milwaukee on life support.

For a guy who grew up not far from St. Louis, in Wildwood, Mo., it was a dream come true.

"I think not too many people get a chance to do this in their hometown," Freese said. "And it's an unbelievable feeling. To be a part of this team, this group of guys, this organization, it means a lot."

Freese, 27, batted .297 with 10 homers and 55 RBI in 97 games for the Cardinals this season. He missed 51 games after fracturing his left hand when he was hit by a pitch against Atlanta on May 1. It continued a string of bad luck for Freese, who had surgery on each ankle in 2010 -- part of the reason why he played in only 70 games in '10.

Acquired from the Padres for outfielder Jim Edmonds in December, 2007, the Cardinals have been waiting for him to blossom. And by the looks of it, he's doing so at an opportune time.

"He's an unbelievable player," reliever Octavio Dotel said. "Unbelievable. And he's going to be a real tough player for the next five, six, seven years. He's a guy you're going to see on ESPN, hear all over the radio, see on Fox Sports ... he's going to do some damage to the other teams, because he's a really, really great player."
Posted on: September 13, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 11:38 pm
 

Axelrod replaces Axelrod client in Sox rotation

CHICAGO -- Craziest story of the week, non-Manny Ramirez Division:

The man who will attempt to stop white-hot Detroit's 11-game winning streak for the White Sox on Wednesday, right-hander Dylan Axelrod, is the nephew of long-time agent Barry Axelrod.

And in making his first major-league start, the Sox rookie will plug into the rotation in place of Jake Peavy, long-time client of ... Barry Axelrod.

As if that's not coincidental enough, there's more.

Dylan Axelrod was the Padres' 30th round pick in the 2007 draft out of UC Irvine. Then-Padres general manager Kevin Towers is a long-time friend of Axelrod (the agent), and at the time, Axelrod (the agent) told Towers he wasn't expecting any personal favors when the team drafted Axelrod (the pitcher).

Towers, as good a bullpen-builder as any executive, assured Barry Axelrod that Dylan was legitimate and this was no favor.

Then things took another weird twist.

The Padres had let Dylan Axelrod go, and in 2009 he was down-and-out and pitching for the Windy City ThunderBolts of the independent Frontier League. When the White Sox sent four young pitchers to the Padres in a deal to acquire, yes, Peavy ... Chicago needed to replenish its farm system. Axelrod was pitching so well for the ThunderBolts that the Sox signed him.

Then, one more strange turn.

Dylan Axelrod pitched opening day for Double-A Birmingham this season.

Who started the next day? Peavy, on an injury-rehabilitation assignment.

"The irony of the whole situation keeps hitting me in the face," Barry Axelrod says. "It's intertwined all the way through. And Jake's been great to him."

Both Barry and his brother Dennis -- Dylan's father -- are in Chicago and will be watching nervously at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday afternoon.
Posted on: August 21, 2011 7:36 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

Late August, and if you're looking for stretch-run drama, well, you'd better go find a good book. May I recommend David Halberstam's Summer of '49? Great book chronicling an epic Red Sox-Yankees pennant race. Sigh.

There's still time for things to change, of course, but as we sit here today (unless, of course, you're standing), there is less than a four-game difference in only one of eight potential playoff races. (I'm dismissing the half-game separating the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East because both clubs have all but formally qualified for October: The Red Sox own a 7 1/2-game margin over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card chase).

No, after Detroit's beat-down of Cleveland, the only real drama heading into this week is in the NL West, where the Giants have pulled back to within 1 1/2 games of Arizona. The Diamondbacks were and are a nice story, but not quite so much after getting swept in Atlanta.

Anyway, for all of this, I blame California.

The Not-So-Golden State right now is playing harball at a level ranging from head-shakingly bad to maddeningly sporadic and is in danger of being shut out of postseason baseball for the first time since 1999:

-- The World Series champion Giants, playing catch-up with Arizona, currently rank 29th in the majors in runs scored and seemingly have more players on the disabled list than on the active roster. Carlos Beltran, hello?

-- The Dodgers' back-to-back NLCS appearances in 2008-2009 currently are tied up in divorce/bankruptcy court.

-- The Padres' 90-win season of a year ago has turned to dust.

-- The only way the Athletics will see October is in Moneyball -- literally. The movie opens Sept. 23.

-- The Angels were nearly extinguished by Texas last week before rising from the ashes with a four-game winning streak that has moved them back to within four games of the Rangers.

Starting in 2000, the Angels have made the playoffs six times, the Athletics five, the Giants and Dodgers four each and the Padres twice.

Now? The Giants are clawing and the Angels have regained a faint pulse. Those two right now are a couple of the last hopes to goose a stretch-run that is threatening to boost football's television ratings even more.

Now, with colleague Danny Knobler hopefully somewhere with his feet up and an ice-cold lemonade nearby ... on to this week's 3 to Watch:

1. Time was, the Red Sox looked loaded and dangerous. Aw, truth be told, they still mostly look that way, but with Clay Buchholz out until mid-September, Daisuke Matsuzaka done for the season and Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury all hurting, they're vulnerable. The pitching situation in particular is why they acquired Erik Bedard at the July 31 deadline, and it is Bedard who takes the ball in the series opener of Red Sox at Rangers, Monday night (8:05 ET) at the Ballpark in Arlington. It's an intriguing four-game series for a few reasons, not the least of which is because, if the season ended today, these two teams would face each other in the first round of the AL playoffs. One thing to watch between now and then, though: The Rangers' schedule down the stretch is more difficult than the Angels, with seven games against the Red Sox, six against Tampa Bay and three against Cleveland (the Angels have two against the White Sox and three against the Yankees, but they also get Baltimore again).

2. Speaking of tough schedules, what Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians are facing is pure torture, and the Indians did not get off to a good start in Detroit over the weekend, where Cleveland was swept. Thanks to early rainouts, the Indians are in the midst of playing 45 games in 44 days. They've got two home doubleheaders -- White Sox and Twins -- the final full week of the season. Before that, though, Seattle pulls into town on Monday, and Cleveland dives into its double-dips with Mariners at Indians, Tuesday afternoon and evening (1:05 and 7:05 ET) at Progressive Field. It doesn't get any easier with rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis (hamstring) on the disabled list and with slugger Travis Hafner nursing a right foot strain (he left Sunday's game in Detroit and the Indians will know more Monday).

3. Two teams struggling mightily to tighten a couple of AL races hook up for a quick two-game series, and by the time Chicago rookie Zach Stewart is finished facing Los Angeles' Jered Weaver in the finale of White Sox at Angels, Wednesday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium, we'll have a better idea of whether Ozzie Guillen's club is in or out in the AL Central, and whether the Angels are serious players in an AL West race that right now is Texas' to lose. The White Sox took two of three from the Rangers and are five games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Thanks to the Sox, the Angels were able to gain a couple of games back on Texas to pull to within four in the AL West. Considering that Texas pushed the Angels to six back last week and was one out away from seizing an eight-game lead on the Angels last Thursday night, Mike Scioscia's club is living large.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Pirates in need of either air or allergy shots

I ran cross country for four years in high school. I was OK, not great, for a couple of reasons. One, I was smallish back then and not very strong. Two, hay fever clobbered me annually in Michigan, from August until the first frost in late September or early October. Ragweed pollen choked off my breathing passages, and there were days when it felt like I could get no oxygen into my lungs.

Sort of, I imagine, how the Pittsburgh Pirates are feeling these days.

For four months, the Buccos were one of the best stories in the game. Even Commissioner Bud Selig said that Pittsburgh's was the first score he checks every night. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Bucs were buyers at the July trade deadline.

Then, wheeze, wheeze. ...

Clint Hurdle's club fell into a 10-game losing streak that has all but asphyxiated Cinderella. At 56-60, the Pirates were 10 games behind Milwaukee. Steelers season again is on deck in Pittsburgh.

What happened?

Well, there are a lot of explanations, but those mostly are just accumulations of pieces of answers from over there and parts of answers from over here. Their pitching suddenly disappeared on them. Their bats went silent. The lowly Cubs and Padres swept them at home, socking the Pirates with their first winless homestand of six-or-more games in their 125-year history.

The Pirates were outscored by 45 runs during the 10-game streak.

Basically, the Pirates confirmed what many believed from the start: They're not quite ready to win yet.

Young legs and fresh arms are as important as ever in the game -- and, with the majority of steroids and greenies evidently expunged thanks to tighter testing, more important these days than at any time since the mid-1980s.

But young talent alone is not enough. Because among the many things the youngsters must develop is stamina -- both physical and mental -- for a 162-game grind.

The story of this year's Pirates is shaping up remarkably similar to that of last year's Padres, who also were the best story in the game until ... yes, until a 10-game losing streak knocked the wind out of them. Only difference was, the Padres skid started a couple of weeks later, on Aug. 26. Pittsburgh's started a month earlier, on July 29.

One common thread is poor Ryan Ludwick. The Padres acquired him last July 31 because they needed more production in the middle of their order. Pittsburgh dealt for him this July 31 for the same reason.

Now Ludwick is something of an unwilling expert on would-be contenders falling into 10-game losing skids and seeing their seasons crumble.

Though the losing streak wrecked their season, last year's Padres did gain a second wind, played in meaningful games all the way to the last day of their season and wound up with 90 wins.

These Pirates are only on pace for 77 wins, and the interesting thing now will be to see how they respond the rest of the way. This is an important stretch. General manager Neal Huntington has built a good nucleus of young players -- Andrew McCutchen, Neal Walker, Jose Tabata (who has been injured), Pedro Alvarez (who is having a miserable season). Pittsburgh is far closer to winning than it has been in a long time.

Still, what they need is some room to breathe, some room to grow. Some air.

That, or some allergy pills.

By my senior year, by the way, we won the league title. I contributed in a few small ways, scoring points here and there, but others did the heavy lifting. Still, it was a great ride and I made some lifelong friends while running over the trails and through the woods.

I still think about those days at this time of year, when school beckons and the baseball season shifts toward its final sprint. Sometimes the trails go uphill. Sometimes they disappear into the woods. The trick is in the persevering.

It would be a shame if things completely got away from the Pirates in 2011. This is an organization that has endured 18 consecutive losing seasons, a record for North American professional sports.

It won't be nearly the same as watching them fight for a spot in October, but if the Pirates can't climb back into the race, watching them battle for a .500 finish will still be pretty good drama.

Likes: Dan Uggla extending his hitting streak to 31 games. ... Sign-stealing controversies. There has been off-the-record chatter about those kind of capers in Toronto for years. It's amusing and entertaining. And my response is, if you think the Blue Jays are stealing your signs, then change your signs. ... The law in the great state of Michigan prohibiting public schools from starting before Labor Day. That's the way it should be everywhere. Summer doesn't end until Labor Day Weekend, does it? ... Here's to Jerry Garcia, who died 16 years ago Aug. 9.

Dislikes: The dancing woman in Cleveland behind the plate in that crazy Indians-Tigers game that ended at 2 a.m. the other night. Can't you just sit still and watch a ballgame? As if she wasn't distracting enough (I was home watching on television), she trended on Twitter. Now I can just see dozens of other wackos following suit looking for their own publicity. Please, no.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well the first days are the hardest days
"Don't you worry any more
"'Cause when life looks like easy street
"There is danger at your door
"Think this through with me
"Let me know your mind.
"Oh, oh, what I want to know is, are you kind?"

-- Grateful Dead, Uncle John's Band
Posted on: July 31, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Pirates make last-minute acquisition of Ludwick



Score one for the Pittsburgh Pirates: They snuck around Cleveland minutes before Sunday's trade deadline and acquired outfielder Ryan Ludwick for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Buyers for the first time since 1992, the Pirates wind up with both Ludwick and first baseman Derrek Lee as they continue their surprising push in the NL Central.

Though disappointing in San Diego since landing there last July, Ludwick's bat, once removed from cavernous Petco Park, could be a boost to the Pirates in a tight NL Central race.

In Ludwick, the Pirates will get a one-time potent bat that has lost its stride in the past year. Ludwick is 3 for his past 21 and is hitting .238 with 11 homers and 64 RBI.

Acquired from the Cardinals at last July's trade deadline to boost a Padres team that then was challenging for the NL West title, Ludwick hit .211 with six homers and 26 RBI in 59 games for the Padres in 2010.

Still, because of Petco Park's vast dimensions, it's hard to say how close Ludwick can come in Pittsburgh to his 2009 form in St. Louis, when he hit 22 homers and collected 97 RBIs, or even '08, when he hit 37 homers with 113 RBI.

Posted on: July 31, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 6:12 pm
 

Shocked Bell watches Adams leave for Texas

A still-dazed looking Heath Bell sat at his locker one hour before Sunday's trade deadline and moments after the Padres had shipped set-up man Mike Adams to the Rangers still trying to figure it all out.

His wife had just left him am message and told him: You've been traded to Texas.

Yes, she had been watching television.

"So I went to the back room to call her, and I came back into the clubhouse and Mike's traded," Bell said.

Bell? He was staying in San Diego, according to one Padres' source, barring some late, astronomical offer from the Yankees or the Phillies (or another late entrant).

And as you might have heard, that never came.

"I'm surprised," Bell said. "Texas is getting a great pitcher [in Adams]. It's unbelievable. I'm happy for him. He's from Texas."

Even after the Adams deal an hour before Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trading deadline, had Bell been told he was staying?

"I haven't been told anything," he said. "You never know what's going to happen. Jed [Hoyer, Padres' general manager] makes the hard decisions."

Bell has repeatedly said he will be willing to accept a discounted contract, either now or while on the free agent market this winter.

"I haven't been offered anything," he said. "I can't take a discount on something I haven't been offered. I'm not taking an insane discount, but I would take a discount as a free agent to come back here."

As for Sunday's wild day in the Padres clubhouse, Bell shook his head.

"Supposedly, there were going to be four or five of us traded," Bell said. "Now there's only been one [two, after Ryan Ludwick was shipped to Pittsburgh minutes before the deadline]. I'm not relieved. Mike Adams is one of the best set-up men in the game.

"We're going to miss a great friend and a good teammate."

Posted on: July 31, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Indians close to acquiring Ludwick

The Cleveland Indians are on the verge of finishing what they started the other day, knocking off a deal to acquire Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick.

CBSSports.com first reported Saturday in the wake of Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez trade that the Indians were in position to acquire Ludwick on Sunday morning.

Though disappointing in San Diego since landing there last July, Ludwick's bat, once removed from cavernous Petco Park, could be a boost to the Indians in a tight AL Central race. Cleveland, which has been searching for outfield bats, landed Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs the other day.

In Ludwick, the Indians will get a one-time potent bat that has lost its stride in the past year. Ludwick is 3 for his past 21 and is hitting .238 with 11 homers and 64 RBI.

Acquired from the Cardinals at last July's trade deadline to boost a Padres team that then was challenging for the NL West title, Ludwick hit .211 with six homers and 26 RBI in 59 games for the Padres in 2010.

Still, because of Petco Park's vast dimensions, it's hard to say how close Ludwick can come in Cleveland to his 2009 form in St. Louis, when he hit 22 homers and collected 97 RBIs, or even '08, when he hit 37 homers with 113 RBI.

With Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore both on the disabled list, the Indians need whatever help can come their way.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com