Posted on: April 22, 2011 8:06 pm
NEW YORK -- Alan Trammell was 35 when Sparky Anderson first moved him off shortstop.
He was 38 when he became a utility man, in what would be his final big-league season.
He understands as well as anyone what happens when shortstops get old. He understands why only one player ever got to 3,000 hits while still playing shortstop, even if he wasn't aware that it was Honus Wagner, 97 years ago.
"What it tells you is yes, it is that demanding a position," said Trammell, now the Diamondbacks bench coach. "You put your heart and soul into it. At shortstop, you've got to be on your p's and q's every pitch.
"At that position, when guys start to lose it, it gets exposed fast."
The question comes up because Derek Jeter has 2,940 hits, turns 37 in June . . . and is still playing shortstop.
Jeter isn't the oldest shortstop in baseball -- Miguel Tejada of the Giants turns 37 in May -- but he is the one guy who will almost certainly do what only Wagner did before him: Reach 3,000 hits while still playing short.
Cal Ripken Jr. was in his third year as a full-time third baseman by the time he got to 3,000 (at age 39). Robin Yount? He was a 36-year-old center fielder.
Omar Vizquel is still playing at 43 (he turns 44 on Sunday), and he was still a full-time shortstop at 40. He still needs 193 hits for 3,000, and in any case, he's no longer a regular shortstop.
Others, like Trammell (2,365) and Ozzie Smith (2,460) fell short of 3,000, although in Smith's case, it wasn't because he retired early. He played until he was 41, and played shortstop right to the end.
Smith, in fact, was the Cardinals shortstop for three of the seven games of the 1996 National League Championship Series. At 41, he's the oldest player ever to start at short in a postseason game.
Worth noting, since both Jeter and Tejada will be 37 by October, is that only five other teams have used a shortstop 37 or older in a postseason game: The 1955-56 Dodgers, with Pee Wee Reese at age 37 and then 38; the 1955 Yankees, with Phil Rizzuto at 38; the 1984 Cubs, with Larry Bowa at 38; and the 2001 Mariners, with Mark McLemore at 37.
"The unfortunate thing for any player," Trammell said, "is that if he doesn't make a play, they'll immediately say it's because he's older."
Posted on: August 9, 2009 4:29 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2009 4:31 pm
The early word on trade waivers is that quite a few players are getting claimed, even some with large salaries.
Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, who is guaranteed nearly $60 million over the next five years, was claimed last week, two baseball sources confirmed to CBSSports.com. One source said that the claiming team is the White Sox. While the Blue Jays could simply let the claim go through and offload Rios' contract, it's believed that they keep Rios if the White Sox don't offer them enough in return. The teams had 48 hours to make a deal, a time period that is believed to run through Monday.
Also claimed, according to sources, was Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada. The claiming team isn't known, but also isn't important, because the Astros have already pulled Tejada back and now can't trade him. Tejada is making $13 million this year, on the final year of his contract.
The Rays aren't believed to be the team that blocked Tejada, but sources said that Tampa Bay has been active in claiming any low-salary players, effectively blocking them from being traded to the Yankees or Red Sox.
Teams put most of their players through waivers at some point in August. If the player goes through unclaimed, he is eligible to be traded to any team. If a player is claimed by one or more teams, that player can only be dealt in the 48 hours after the claim is awarded (to the claiming team that is lowest in the standings).
When a player is claimed, the team that put him through waivers has three choices: pull back the claim (at which point the player can no longer be traded), trade him to the team making the claim, or simply allow him to go to the claiming team without getting a player in return.
According to baseball rules, the waiver process is secret, and teams and officials are not allowed to comment or even confirm claims.
Posted on: August 4, 2008 7:38 pm
I suppose you have to admire Drayton McLane's confidence, his determination and his willingness to spend money.
Or waste money.
It still makes no sense that the Astros were buyers at last week's non-waiver trading deadline. It still makes no sense that the Astros, 13 games out of first place and eight games out of the wild-card lead (with five teams in front of them) traded for Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins, let alone that they didn't get a start on rebuilding an organization that badly needs it.
It makes no sense to me, I should say. Because after talking to McLane before the Astros' game tonight at Wrigley Field, I'm convinced that it makes sense to him.
"We never considered selling," he said. "It's not in my makeup. That was never in consideration. We had a lot of offers. You heard about (Miguel) Tejada. There was interest in Carlos Lee. Even Lance Berkman's name was mentioned. Roy Oswalt's, too. We wouldn't ever consider any of those things."
The natural question is "Why the heck not?" But McLane has an answer for that, too.
Quite simply, he expects this team to win. He still expects it.
"Absolutely," he said. "Look at 2004. We were in about the same position we're in now. In 2005, same thing, and we went to the World Series."
So he thinks the Astros are going to win in 2008?
"Yeah, I think we're going to make a great run for it, and I think we have the capacity to win," he said.
Sorry, but I still think it's nuts. I do, however, admire his confidence.
Oh, and for the record, on Aug. 4, 2004, the Astros were 14 1/2 games out of first place and five games back in the wild-card race, which they ended up winning. A year later, they were nine games out of first place, but were already leading the wild-card race (which they won again enroute to the World Series.
Posted on: July 6, 2008 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2008 3:35 pm
The Indians were telling teams today that it's "highly improbable" that C.C. Sabathia will make his next scheduled start for them. While Sabathia is still listed as the Indians' starting pitcher for their Tuesday night game in Detroit, it appears almost certain that he'll be traded before then.
The destination could well be Milwaukee. The Dodgers had been involved as recently as Sunday morning, but as of Sunday afternoon a baseball source familiar with the talks said that the Dodgers are out of it. While there was talk in the baseball world that the Phillies could make a late push, it seems likely that their offer will fall short.
The Brewers' offer is centered around Matt LaPorta, a 23-year-old outfielder who was Milwaukee's first-round draft pick a year ago. LaPorta has 20 home runs and 66 RBIs in 84 games at Double-A Huntsville. The Brewers reportedly told the Indians that they could have only two of their top five prospects, and that they couldn't have both LaPorta and Huntsville shortstop Alcides Escobar.
The Dodgers had been interested in Sabathia, but they have instead focused their efforts on a shortstop to replace the injured Rafael Furcal.
Even after they trade Sabathia, the Indians won't be done dealing. The Tribe plans to shop other players this month, with struggling reliever Rafael Betancourt's name mentioned.
"There's a dearth of shortstops," one baseball official said.
The Dodgers, Blue Jays and Orioles have been the teams most active in looking. The Jays have been offering starter A.J. Burnett, and a source said they had talked to the Brewers about Burnett, hoping to get either Escobar or J.J. Hardy.