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Tag:Heath Bell
Posted on: July 4, 2010 4:49 pm
 

All-Star questions, snubs and thoughts

-- Stephen Strasburg, discuss.

-- OK, here's my part of the discussion: I think the right thing was done not only in leaving him off of the All-Star ballot, but also in not listing him among the final five men for whom fans can vote. You know he would have won that in a landslide. As I blogged the other day, the guy's career has barely achieved liftoff -- there are others in line in front of him for the All-Star Game. Besides, the Nationals are so worried about his innings-pitched count that they're probably going to shut him down by early September. So why shouldn't he wait a year or two before making his All-Star debut? That said, it's one hell of an argument, and colleague Gregg Doyel makes the contrary argument (big surprise there, huh?) here and, as usual, does it very well. He's wrong, but he's good.

-- Biggest snub? Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo not being on the NL team. Forget a simple roster spot. He should be starting.

-- How can the San Diego Padres have by far the best pitching staff in the game one-through-12 this season and not have one pitcher on the NL team? Closer Heath Bell is one of the five players up for the fan vote for the last spot on the team. But starter Mat Latos (9-4, 2.62 ERA) should be on the team, and starter Clayton Richard (6-4, 2.74) merits consideration. But the real snub is that set-up man Luke Gregerson didn't make it despite a strikeout-walk ratio that is sick: 51 K's against six walks over 40 1/3 innings. What, the NL team has a death wish by not inviting San Diego pitchers?

-- Best All-Star story: Cincinnati reliever Arthur Rhodes, who, as a 40-year-old first-time All-Star, is the third-oldest All-Star "rookie" in history. Rhodes from April 13-June 26 made 33 appearances for the Reds without allowing a run, equaling a single-season record he now shares with Mark Guthrie (2002, Mets) and Mike Myers (2000, Rockies).

-- Nicest All-Star story: Arizona outfielder Chris Young, who got himself so twisted up at the plate last season that the Diamondbacks shipped him back to Triple-A to fix his mechanics (and for his own sanity) last summer, bounces back to earn his way onto the NL team. Young has 16 homers, 57 RBI and 14 steals and is one of the few bright spots in Arizona this summer.

-- With the 5 p.m. start time to the Tuesday, July 13 game in Anaheim, you'll be hearing so much about "twilight" you'll think vampires (or Kristen Stewart) will be playing. No question, in the Year of the Pitcher, pitching should dominate for at least the first half of the game. Hitters will not be too crazy facing Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, David Price, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and the rest in the twilight.

-- Quick reference guide: The American League has won seven consecutive All-Star Games since the tie in Milwaukee in 2002, and 12 of the past 13 (including the tie). The NL has not won since 1996 in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.

-- The new rule this year by which each manager can designate a position player to re-enter that game in the late (or extra innings) if the last available position player at any position is injured) is cheesy. I know Commissioner Bud Selig's special on-field committee is a crack staff, but it won't be long until we'll have Little League everybody on the roster gets to bat rules in place. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio used to play seven, eight, nine innings. Today's "everybody gets a chance to play" mentality is weak.

-- As the sole representative from the host Angels, one of Torii Hunter's duties, no doubt, will be to introduce all of his AL teammates to the Rally Monkey.

-- You'll also be seeing endless replays of the big Bo Jackson 448-foot homer to dead center field against Rick Reuschel in the 1989 game.

-- Vladimir Guerrero returning to Angel Stadium as an All-Star with Texas will be intriguing to everyone but Angels fans.

-- Rookie Jason Heyward's announced plan to participate in batting practice with the NL All-Stars, because he was voted in by fans, but to sit out the game, because he's on the disabled list, is classy.

-- Final man votes: I'd go Paul Konerko of the White Sox in the AL, and Cincinnati's Joey Votto in the NL.

-- The painted Mickey Mouses (most featuring All-Star designs on Mickey) they're placing around Anaheim look very cool. And this from a cranky guy who doesn't give two hoots for Mickey, and a guy who generally avoids Disneyland (and Disneyworld) at all costs (I just despise crowded places where you stand in line forever).

Likes: The long piece on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Sunday's New York Times magazine. ... Seeing clips of Lou Gehrig's "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" each July 4 -- it was delivered 71 years ago Sunday -- never fails to produce chills. ... I'm not much for reality shows -- sports or otherwise -- but The Club, centered on the crazy Chicago White Sox, on MLB Network later this month looks too dramatic to pass up. ... George Steinbrenner's birthday being on July 4. How perfect is that? ... Man, does the Padres' Tony Gwynn Jr. have wheels.

Dislikes: We can all argue All-Star snubs, but there are too many players on each roster already. The 34-man rosters are ridiculous.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Driving in to Darlington County
"Me and Wayne on the Fourth of July
"Driving in to Darlington County
"Looking for some work on the county line
"We drove down from New York City
"Where the girls are pretty
"But they just wanna know your name
"Driving in to Darlington city
"Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne's
"We drove 800 miles without seeing a cop
"We got rock and roll music blasting out the T-top"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Darlington County

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:40 pm
 

Twins with Angels, Dodgers in Heath Bell talks

Add the Minnesota Twins to the list of teams frantically phoning San Diego and trying to complete a deal for Padres closer Heath Bell in these final 30 minutes before the trade deadline, sources tell CBSSports.com.

The Twins, who already have acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera, are working hard to add bullpen help to a beleaguered bullpen as they fight to stay in the AL Central race with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox.

The Padres' asking price for Bell, however, might be prohibitively high for the Twins' taste. And there is plenty of competition, too, as both the Dodgers and the Angels are making strong bids for Bell.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:03 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 3:13 pm
 

Dodgers talking Gonzalez, Bell with San Diego

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who appear to have moved on from their talks with Toronto for ace Roy Halladay, are talking with the San Diego Padres about a potential blockbuster deal in which they would acquire both first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell, sources with knowledge of the Dodgers' plans have told CBSSports.com.

Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star, was hitting .252 with 28 home runs and 59 RBI in 103 games for the Padres this season. The Padres long have said they have not wanted to trade him but began listening to offers within the last several days.

San Diego conducted extensive talks with Boston regarding Gonzalez over the past 48 hours but those finally ended less than two hours before the trade deadline when the Red Sox acquired Victor Martinez.

If the Dodgers are able to pull this off, it would be the second closer they've acquired in two days -- they nabbed Baltimore's George Sherrill on Thursday. Also, presumably Gonzalez would replace James Loney at first base. There is no word yet on whom the Dodgers would send back in the deal.

Meantime, the Dodgers aren't the only Southern California team attempting to land Bell: The Los Angeles Angels also are engaged in serious discussions with the Padres while attempting to bolster their bullpen.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 2:26 pm
 

Sherrill, Bell talks continue

The demand for relief pitchers continues to produce a seller's market, with San Diego closer Heath Bell and Baltimore closer George Sherrill among those receiving plenty of interest as Friday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline approaches.

The Orioles continue to field offers on Sherrill, with "seven or eight" clubs involved, according to CBSSports.com sources. Both Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers and Angels, are among those involved. The Chicago Cubs, looking to add a lefty reliever and already having spoken with Pittsburgh about John Grabow and with Washington about Joe Beimel, also are believed to be involved.

The Orioles control the 32-year-old Sherrill for two more seasons (he's making $2.75 million this year) and, as such, feel no urgency to move him.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Baltimore was still talking with clubs and had nothing imminent in place. The Orioles, quite simply, are looking for young talent in return. They've already broken in rookie catcher Matt Wieters this year and highly touted right-hander Chris Tillman made his big-league debut Wednesday night against Kansas City.

If they do deal with the Dodgers, they likely would demand one of two young infielders -- Josh Bell or Blake DeWitt -- and, in dealings with the Angels, young infielders Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez surely will be discussed.

As for Bell, the Padres so far have not been able to swing a deal with the Florida Marlins, with whom they were engaged in discussions deep into Wednesday night. Reportedly, the Marlins have rebuffed San Diego's request for one of two young starters, either Andrew Miller or Sean West. Both are power arms who fit into Florida's future plans.

While the Padres still could become re-engaged with the Marlins, close to a dozen other clubs have been speaking with Padres about Bell.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 12:21 am
Edited on: July 30, 2009 12:24 am
 

Pads talk Gonzalez with Boston, Bell with Florida

The Boston Red Sox continue to swing for the fences, exploring impact trades on all fronts: As of Wednesday night, according to CBSSports.com sources, they were in on Toronto ace Roy Halladay, Cleveland slugger Victor Martinez and, in a very intriguing twist, San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

The Gonzalez development is the most recent. The Red Sox had approached the Padres several weeks ago but were told at that time that Gonzalez was staying put. San Diego now appears to have had a change of heart and is at least exploring a potential deal for its All-Star slugger less than 48 hours before Friday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline.

The cost-cutting Padres are looking for young, controllable players, especially starting pitchers. To move Gonzalez, it probably would cost Boston multiple young arms, likely from the group of Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard, and probably a young position player or two.

Those also are pitchers about whom Toronto has inquired during talks for Halladay, according to sources. So Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who has proven adept in the past at multi-tasking down parallel trade lines, has some serious decisions to make in these last 30-some hours.

Meantime, the Padres are fielding several inquiries about closer Heath Bell and appeared to be engaged in serious discussions with the Florida Marlins. One source with knowledge of the talks said the Padres are asking for premier young pitchers and that there might not be a match.

If there is, and the Padres wind up shipping Bell to Florida and Gonzalez to Boston, then they probably could fill their closer's role with one of the young arms they acquire, such as Bard.

As for the Red Sox, it's clear that they have their sights set on an impact trade. Gonzalez or Martinez would be a huge boost to a slumping lineup. Left fielder Jason Bay, for example, was batting just .203 in the month of July into Wednesday night's game with Oakland. He had just one homer and five RBI in the month, with 24 strikeouts in 69 at-bats.

In the Halladay deal, Boston is said to be willing to part with  Buchholz, he of the no-hitter two summers ago. But the Red Sox reportedly will not include outfielder Ryan Westmoreland and pitcher-shortstop Casey Kelly -- each a 2008 draft pick -- in any potential deal.

 

 

Posted on: July 6, 2009 8:17 pm
 

Black, Padres talking extension

While Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro announced the other day that manager Eric Wedge definitely will be retained through the rest of this season (Wedge is signed through 2010), another manager is close to landing some security of his own.

San Diego and manager Bud Black, whose deal expires after the 2009 season, are having ongoing conversations about a contract extension, and the two sides are hoping to reach an agreement sometime this month. There are still significant details to be worked out, such as length of the extension and salary. But there is desire on both sides to get it done, leading to the current optimism that it will get done.

"They should," veteran outfielder Brian Giles said. "We've got a lot of young guys, and that comes with a lot of growing pains. I think he's done a good job with the team they've put together."

The economically downsizing Padres weren't expected to contend this season. But they've played far better than expected following last year's 101-loss disaster. And handed a roster far more versatile than last summer's slow-footed, non-athletic group, Black has been able to expand his managing chops.

"I've seen him grow as a manager," said Padres closer Heath Bell who, like Black, arrived in San Diego in 2007. "He's gotten a little better with strategy each year. I've seen him do a little more each year."

Bell especially complimented Black's style of privately asking veterans for input at times and keeping them apprised of what he's thinking. Padres management was especially impressed when the normally low-key Black blistered his team following a sloppy, 0-6 trip through Houston and Chicago in May.

Following that, the Padres responded with a season-high 10-game winning streak and won 12 of 15.

"I think it would be good for the organization," if Black is retained, Bell said. "I think it would be pretty positive."

Likes: Eric Wedge mostly is getting killed by Cleveland fans right now. But I will say this: Whether he eventually stays or goes, it is nice to see an organization (and by that, I mean general manager Mark Shapiro, especially) take some of the responsibility for what's gone wrong instead of simply blaming it all on the manager. Fans love to see skippers get the ax, and often it's warranted. But it's rarely that simple. ... Very classy move by the Chicago White Sox in dedicating a memorial at U.S. Cellular Field to the late, legendary baseball writer Jerome Holtzman. The case, in the lobby area of the park, even includes a cigar among the typewriter and assorted other artifacts from the career of Holtzman, who passed away a year ago this month. ... Netflix the two-disc DVD from the old Johnny Cash Show and, if you like music, you will not be disappointed. It's a greatest-hits sort of collection from Cash's old television show that ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and among the guests are the Creedence Clearwater Revival (you sure don't get a chance to see them perform every day), a very young Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong (he seems like he was a very sweet man), a very young James Taylor, Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson, Derek and the Dominos, Ray Charles and many, many more. Very enjoyable. And I didn't realize how eclectic that show was back in the day when it came to various musical styles.

Dislikes: Really, really bad news: Sean Penn is out of The Three Stooges movie. Awwww.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
"It was summertime in Northern Michigan
"Splashing through the sand bar
"Talking by the campfire
"It's the simple things in life, like when and where
"We didn't have no internet
"But man I never will forget
"The way the moonlight shined upon her hair"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com