Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:49 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 1:57 pm
It's been almost a week since the Tigers found out that Victor Martinez would likely be lost for the season with a knee injury, and the team still doesn't have a replacement.
What's taking so long?
Actually, it won't be a surprise if the Tigers' search for a Martinez replacement goes on quite a while longer, perhaps even into the 2012 season.
While the Tigers seem to have some interest in Raul Ibanez, Hideki Matsui and Vladimir Guerrero, and less in Johnny Damon, none of the possible Martinez replacements would provide the Tigers with exactly what Martinez gave them -- a quality switch hitter who gives Miguel Cabrera protection in the batting order.
The other option would be for the Tigers to stick with the players they already have, and to figure out as the year goes along whether they need to spend their resources on a designated hitter to replace Martinez or on filling other needs.
As of now, the Tigers are also without a definite fifth starter. They tried to deal for Gio Gonzalez, but lost out when they wouldn't include both Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos in the same deal. They showed interest in free-agent Roy Oswalt (even having Justin Verlander put in a recruiting call), but were told that he was not interested in them (and seems headed for either the Red Sox or Cardinals). The Tigers have been linked by some to Matt Garza of the Cubs, but a Garza deal seems a real longshot.
While the Tigers haven't ruled out adding a veteran starter later in the winter, they now seem willing to go to spring training and pick a fifth starter there (with Turner one of the candidates).
Even without Martinez, and without a clear fifth starter, the Tigers should enter spring as the clear favorite in the American League Central. Barring further injuries, they should at the very least be able to remain in contention for the first half of the season, then look to make another midseason deal like last year's trade for Doug Fister.
Posted on: April 18, 2011 6:35 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies still won't even guess at when Chase Utley will return.
But at least it does feel like he will be back.
Part of the reason is that there's finally some visible progress. After two months where Utley mostly took batting practice and fielded ground balls while sitting on a stool, he has started running.
And, apparently, he's tired of not being able to play.
"I can tell he's definitely getting antsy," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Monday.
Imagine how he'd feel if the Phillies were the team that started off 2-10.
Instead, the Phils entered play Monday with a 10-4 record, good for first place in the National League East and second-best in the National League behind the Rockies. While Utley is, as usual, driven to come back, at least he doesn't feel that he needs to return fast to save his team.
Last year, Utley sped up the process of his rehab, and some in the Phillies organization believed he went too fast. The team is determined not to allow him to do it again, and those who know Utley say that he knows that now, too.
But there's no doubt that the more the Phillies win, the easier it will be to keep Utley on a schedule that the medical people recommend.
"I think that's good," Manuel said. "I know how much value he puts on the team winning."
There's no doubt that the Phillies miss Utley's bat. Wilson Valdez has filled in admirably at second base, but without Utley, and with Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins off to slow power starts, the Phils don't have much home-run power in their lineup, aside from Ryan Howard.
Through 14 games, the Phillies have hit just 11 home runs, ranking 11th in the NL. Howard has three, but Rollins has yet to hit one (and has just one RBI), and Ibanez has only one homer.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 3:00 pm
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The problem for the Phillies isn't finding someone who can take over for Chase Utley at second base.
No, the problem is finding someone who can do what Utley does at the plate. The problem is finding someone who can drive in 100 runs and score 100 runs.
The Phillies still don't know how long they'll be without Utley, who hasn't played this spring because of what they've described as patellar tendinitis in his right knee. But the club announced Wednesday morning that "additional opinions" will be sought, and it's clearer than ever that Utley could miss significant time.
That likely means Wilson Valdez plays second base, at least in the short term. The Phillies could still add another utility infield type, and perhaps they could even make a bigger trade, although right now a deal for someone like Michael Young seems highly unlikely.
Valdez filled in well at shortstop last year when Jimmy Rollins was hurt, and he also started 35 games at third base in place of Utley last year. But if Valdez can capably fill the vacancy at second base, there's no way he can take Utley's place in the Phillies' offense.
Without Utley, as Manuel pointed out, the Phillies are missing their third- and fifth-place hitters from last year. Jayson Werth, of course, left last winter as a free agent.
Manuel hit Placido Polanco in the third spot in Wednesday's spring game against the Tigers. He said he has told Polanco that he'll also hit fifth at times.
Polanco is a quality hitter, one of the best No. 2 hitters in the game. But he has never driven in 100 runs in a season in his career, and only once scored 100 runs in a season.
Manuel listed Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins as two other candidates to hit third. But Rollins is the Phillies' leadoff hitter, and Manuel isn't sure he wants to take Rollins out of that role.
As Manuel said, "It'd be better and easier if [Utley] is in there."
And that may be why Manuel is holding out hope that Utley will recover quickly.
"We've still got time," he said Wednesday.
They still have time. Right now, though, they still don't have Chase Utley.
Posted on: December 15, 2008 3:21 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 3:24 pm
The Phillies started the winter late, because they were busy with other things in October. Then they had to redo the front office, when Pat Gillick retired as GM and Ruben Amaro was promoted to replace him.
Then they got to the winter meetings, and got bogged down in the Jake Peavy mess.
But with Friday's signing of Raul Ibanez and today's signing of Jamie Moyer, the Phils are effectively done with their winter shopping. While they only have four-fifths of their rotation set, they don't have any more money to spend on a veteran starter and expect to choose between pitchers they already have.
They set out to get a pitcher (preferably Moyer), to get a left fielder (to replace Pat Burrell) and to add a bullpen arm (and they've signed Chan-Ho Park).
They would have liked to have had Mark DeRosa, who would have been their take in the three-team Peavy deal, but when the Cubs got tired of talking to the Padres, that fell apart. So they got Ibanez, and now they have Moyer, and they're happy with what they have.
Posted on: December 10, 2008 4:07 pm
And while owner Arte Moreno said that he always considered Mark Teixeira the top target -- ahead of Sabathia -- the question now is what the Angels do if Teixeira also goes elsewhere.
According to sources, the Angels have not had serious discussions about making a run at Manny Ramirez. They have discussed pursuing Raul Ibanez, or possibly Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell, if they lose out on Teixeira.
The other possibility would be to trade for a hitter, but the Angels would prefer not to do that.
The Angels face serious competition for Teixeira from the Red Sox, who have also made the first baseman their top free-agent target. Both the Nationals and the Orioles are interested in Teixeira, too. Both have the advantage of playing close to Teixeira's Maryland home.
Teixeira is said by some to favor the East Coast, but several executives said they expect it simply to come down to the most money and the most years.
The Red Sox are in a slightly different position from the Angels. While the Angels have let Garret Anderson and Juan Rivera leave as free agents, and thus have an outfield opening, the Red Sox wouldn't need to go to Plan B if they lose out on Teixeira. Even if they sign him, in fact, they would then have to trade Mike Lowell.
The Red Sox met with Sabathia earlier this week, and they also met with A.J. Burnett. But officials familiar with their plans say the Sox were never seriously interested in either pitcher.
Posted on: July 26, 2008 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2008 2:03 pm
The Dodgers have agreed to a trade with Cleveland for third baseman Casey Blake, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
The Indians will pay part of Blake's $6.1 million contract.
The trade, announced early Saturday afternoon, sends catcher Carlos Santana and right-hander Jon Meloan to the Indians. Santana is the key to the deal for the Indians. In 99 games this season at Class A Inland Empire, he's hitting .323 with 14 home runs, 96 RBIs and more walks than strikeouts.
Blake has been hot over the last month, with a .347 average, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 21 games. The Dodgers had been looking for a shortstop, but with the market thin at that position, they shifted their focus and obtained Blake to play third base and give them an offensive boost.
Dodger third basemen have batted .245 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs. All three totals are among the lowest in the majors this year.
Blake has been coveted by several teams, in part because of his ability to play multiple positions. He's played third and first for the Indians this year, and as recently as 2006 he played 93 games in the outfield.
The trade is more bad news for the Mets, who had pursued Blake as an outfielder and had also tried to trade for Xavier Nady, who was instead dealt from Pittsburgh to the New York Yankees Friday night. The Mets could turn to Seattle outfielder Raul Ibanez, who they've already discussed, even though they would prefer to acquire a right-handed hitter.
The Mets have been hindered in trade talks by their lack of depth in position-player prospects.
"There's only one position player in the system," said one scout who knows the Mets organization.
The player he referred to is outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is at Double-A Binghamton but has been out of the lineup with a right hamstring strain.
Posted on: July 23, 2008 4:02 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2008 7:26 pm
The Phillies, who had been among the more aggressive teams pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, have shifted their attention to Pittsburgh left-hander John Grabow and Baltimore lefty George Sherrill, according to sources.
Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld has been in Houston watching the Pirates, and the Phillies had three different scouts in to watch the Orioles during their current homestand. While the Phillies have also shown interest in Pittsburgh outfielder Xavier Nady, a deal for Grabow is considered a much stronger possibility.
As for Fuentes, there's still some question about whether the Rockies will trade him. Even if they do, the Phillies now consider him too expensive in terms of the players they would have to give up.
The Orioles seem increasingly likely to trade Sherrill. The Baltimore Sun reported that both St. Louis and Milwaukee have shown interest, but the Angels might have a better chance to get him by offering shortstop Erick Aybar. As one scout who has followed the Orioles said: "Baltimore is dying for a shortstop, and Aybar could be a regular for them."
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has told people that his phone has been ringing off the hook since Sherrill pitched so well in the All-Star Game last week.
"That's who he needs to pitch with, because he needs runs," the scout said. "He's another Bill Bavasi mistake. If the Mariners can get rid of Washburn, they should. If they get rid of him, that would help whoever gets that (Seattle GM) job next year."
The Mets know they have little chance of winning without closer Billy Wagner, and they also know there's no way they have enough chips to trade for someone who could successfully replace Wagner if he can't pitch. That's why they still list a corner outfielder, preferably one who bats right-handed, as their primary need, with relief help and even another starting pitcher behind that.
The Mets have talked about Nady and also Jason Bay, but it's doubtful they have enough to get either one from the Pirates. It might be more realistic to think that they could get Casey Blake from Cleveland, or Austin Kearns from Washington. Seattle's Raul Ibanez has also been discussed, even though he bats left-handed.
Tags: Andy MacPhail, Angels, Austin Kearns, Bill Bavasi, Billy Wagner, Brewers, Brian Fuentes, Cardinals, Casey Blake, Charley Kerfeld, Erick Aybar, George Sherrill, Indians, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Bay, John Grabow, Mariners, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Pirates, Raul Ibanez, Rockies, Xavier NAdy, Yankees