Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 8:18 pm

A few names on waivers, and what it means

The Red Sox put Carl Crawford on trade waivers Wednesday, which means nothing.

The Reds put Ramon Hernandez on the wire, which could be more interesting.

The White Sox put John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton on, which may or may not mean anything.

The waiver process is theoretically secret and absolutely prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

Dozens of players are placed on waivers every day during August. Quite a few are claimed. Very few are traded.

Does it mean anything that the Rockies were awarded a claim on Wandy Rodriguez, or that the Giants were reportedly awarded a claim on Heath Bell?

Possibly. Or it could turn out meaning absolutely nothing.

Here's an attempt to explain to make a strange and complicated process a little simpler:

1. After 4 p.m. ET on July 31, players can't be traded without waivers until after the end of the season.

2. During August, teams routinely place nearly every player on waivers. Some they'd love to trade. Some they wouldn't trade under any circumstances. Sometimes they want to gauge interest. Sometimes they put players they're obviously not going to trade (Crawford, for example) on the wire to disguise which players they don't want to see get claimed. Sometimes they want a player to clear, sometimes they'd rather he get claimed.

3. If no team claims a player, he is said to have cleared waivers and then can be traded without restriction.

4. If one team claims a player, the team that put the players on waivers has three options. It can work out a deal with the claiming team, or simply allow the claim to go through, or pull the player back off waivers. If he is pulled back, he is basically untradeable for the rest of the season. Teams sometimes allow claims to go through because they want to be rid of the contract, as happened when the White Sox got Alex Rios from the White Sox.

5. If multiple teams put in a claim, the claim is awarded to the team that was lowest in the standings on the day the player went on waivers. If the teams have the same record, then the tie-breaker is which team finished lower in the standings last year. Then the process is the same as above, with the team having three options.

6. Teams sometimes put in claims in an effort to "block" players from going to teams ahead of them in the standings. The risk is that the claim can go through and the team ends up with the player. But sometimes that even works out, as it did when the Giants "blocked" Cody Ross from going to the Padres last year.

7. The process is theoretically secret, with massive fines threatened for revealing any information. That's why no one is ever quoted on the record until a deal is done, and also why information leaks out in bits and pieces, if at all.

According to sources, the Rockies were awarded the claim on Rodriguez, and the teams have until 1 p.m. Thursday to work out a deal. But as of Wednesday night, it appeared those talks were basically dead, because the Astros put a considerably higher value on Rodriguez than the Rockies do (and weren't simply interested in dumping his large contract).

Also, according to sources, the Giants were awarded the claim on Bell. Those teams have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal, and just as with Rodriguez, sources were suggesting that a deal is unlikely.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Yankees were awarded a claim on Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena. Those teams also have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 11:05 am

Minor leaguer Jacobs suspended for HGH

Former major leaguer Mike Jacobs, now playing in the minor leagues with the Rockies, has become the first North American professional athlete to be suspended for a positive test for human growth hormone.

Baseball announced Thursday morning that Jacobs has been suspended for 50 games, and that the suspension begins immediately.

HGH can only be detected by blood tests, which aren't included under the drug testing agreement between the major leagues and the major-league players union. Testing began last year in the minor leagues, where players aren't members of the union.

Baseball officials will no doubt hope that the news of Jacobs' positive test will step up pressure on the union to accept HGH testing in the new basic agreement, which is currently being negotiated.

The NFL is testing for HGH for the first time this year, under the new labor agreement completed this month.

Jacobs isn't the first player to be suspended for HGH -- Jordan Schafer, recently traded from the Braves to the Astros, was suspended 50 games in 2008 -- but he is the first to be suspended for a positive test. Schafer was suspended because baseball uncovered evidence that he had used HGH.

The 30-year-old Jacobs has played in the major leagues with the Mets, Marlins and Royals, most recently appearing in seven games for the Mets in April 2010. He hit .298 for the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox this year, with 23 home runs and 97 RBI. The 97 RBI ranked second in the Pacific Coast League.

The first professional athlete in the world suspended for a positive HGH test was Terry Newton, a rugby league player in Great Britain, who was banned for two years after a positive test in 2010. Newton committed suicide later that year.

Matt Socholotiuk, a football player at Waterloo University in Canada, was given a three-year ban last September after a positive HGH test.

Patrik Sinkewitz, a German cyclist, tested positive for HGH earlier this year, but he has gone to court to contest the ruling.

Baseball began its minor-league testing program soon after Newton's positive test was announced.

In the major leagues, baseball uses urine testing to enforce bans on steroids and amphetamines. HGH can't be detected by urine tests, and is difficult to detect even in blood testing.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported that the Rockies released Jacobs, but that he apologized to them, and told them he hopes to play next year after serving his suspension.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 30, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 11:14 pm

Indians stun baseball with deal for Jimenez

In the most stunning move of an already stunning season, the Indians have acquired ace right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

The teams announced the trade at the end of a wild night, saying it was pending a physical exam by the Cleveland medical staff on Sunday. Jimenez took the mound for the Rockies one final time Saturday night in San Diego, pitching one uninspired inning as the teams put the final touches on the trade. The deal, which originally appeared to be for three players, was expanded by adding a fourth player before it was finalized.

Jimenez came off the mound at the end of the first inning, and got a hug from manager Jim Tracy and his Rockies teammates.

The Indians agreed to trade both of their top two pitching prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, along with minor-league first baseman Matt McBride and a fourth player to the Rockies in exchange for Jimenez, the top pitcher on the July market. Pomeranz will be listed officially as a player to be named later, because he signed out of the draft last Aug. 15 and technically can't be traded until this Aug. 15.

The Indians lost 93 games last year and went into this season with low expectations. But they've spent much of the year in first place in the weak American League Central, and began play Saturday night two games behind the first-place Tigers.

The Rockies were the team that entered the season with high expectations, but after a strong start, they have fallen far behind the Giants in the National League West. Now they've agreed to trade their top starting pitcher, although they did so for an impressive package of prospects.

White and the Pomeranz, both 22 years old, have been described by rival scouts as potential top of the rotation starters. White made his big-league debut this year, while Pomeranz moved from Class A up to Double-A Akron. White was the Indians' first-round draft pick in 2009, and Pomeranz was picked in the first round a year later.

White has been on the disabled list with a finger problem, but he was due to make a rehabilitation appearance Saturday night at Akron. Pomeranz was scheduled to start that game for the Double-A Aeros, and when he and McBride were scratched, it was the first real sign that Jimenez was headed to Cleveland.

Jimenez is 27 years old, and he is signed through next year with a club option for 2013. Because of that contract, which is considered very team-friendly, the Indians felt comfortable trading two huge parts of their future. Jimenez obviously gives them a much better chance to win the division this year, and they felt he will give them a real chance the next two seasons, as well.

The Indians were able to keep their major-league team intact, and able to keep their two top position-player prospects, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, out of the trade.

The Rockies talked to many teams about Jimenez, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays. They always believed that the Yankees were capable of putting together the best package, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman insisted on protecting his top prospects.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:20 pm

Jimenez: Tigers out, at least for now

The Tigers, trying hard to add a starting pitcher before Sunday's non-waiver deadline, circled back late this week to make another run at Ubaldo Jimenez, the Rockies right-hander who is the best starter on the market.

By Friday night, it appeared that attempt had failed.

According to sources, the Tigers were once again basically out of the Jimenez derby, with the door remaining only slightly open for the Tigers to come back for another try. That appears unlikely, and the Rockies were proceeding with the idea that Jimenez likely gets dealt to the Yankees, the Red Sox or to no one. The Indians and other teams have been involved in Jimenez talks, but as of Friday night, those talks seemed to be quiet.

It's not clear how strong the interest is from either New York or Boston, but both teams could use the rotation upgrade that Jimenez would provide. The Rockies have long regarded the Yankees as being the best fit, because of the wealth of prospects they could choose from, but talks between the two teams haven't been that smooth.

The Red Sox could be more motivated, with the news that Clay Buchholz is headed to California for an exam by noted back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.

The Tigers were in on Jimenez early, but sources said that the Rockies weren't high on the Tiger prospects. It's believed that they insisted that top prospect Jacob Turner be included in any offer, and Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that they at one point asked for Turner and either Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer.

The Tigers could hardly include one of their big-league starters, since their rotation isn't deep enough, as is. The Tigers are just 4-16 when they use their fifth starter.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 11:27 am

3 to Watch: The trade deadline edition

The starting pitching market is weak, so when news spread that Erik Bedard would come off the disabled list to start for the Mariners Friday night, scouts around baseball started calling their travel agents.

The Yankees and Red Sox are both expected to have scouts at Safeco Field to see Bedard. The Tigers will be there, too.

Scouts who saw Bedard before he got hurt reported that he looked close to his old self. He's been a successful pitcher when healthy, winning 15 games for the Orioles in 2006 and compiling a 3.64 ERA in 159 career games.

And he hasn't started more than 15 games in a season since 2007 (although Friday's start will be his 16th for the Mariners this year).

The good news on Bedard is that he was on the DL because of a knee problem, rather than an arm problem. Then again, Jarrod Washburn only had a leg problem when the Tigers acquired him from the Mariners in 2009, and he was a disaster in Detroit.

The Washburn experience makes the Tigers hesitant on Bedard, but with their desperation to find a starter and with the weak market, they'll have a scout there, anyway.

It should be quite a weekend around the big leagues, with the non-waiver trade deadline arriving at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Tigers will also have a scout watching Orioles at Yankees, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium, with Jeremy Guthrie starting for the O's. Guthrie has long been on the Tigers' list of possible targets, but he has rarely pitched well with Tiger scouts in the house. The Orioles have also been asking a high price for Guthrie, but again, on this market, anything's possible. A.J. Burnett starts for the Yankees, who have also been out shopping for starting pitchers. The Yankees keep hoping that Burnett will look like a true No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia, but they also keep watching Ubaldo Jimenez, who may be better.

2. Bedard is the main attraction in Rays at Mariners, Friday night (10:10 ET) at Safeco Field, but it's worth noting that Jeff Niemann starts for the Rays. The Rays have told teams that they won't move James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson or David Price, but Niemann and Wade Davis are much more available. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rays offered Niemann to the Cardinals as part of a package for Colby Rasmus. The Tigers were offered Niemann, as well. They turned him down once, but they'll get another look when he faces Bedard.

3. Jimenez has always been the biggest name on this market. The Rockies claim that they will keep him if they don't get a great offer, but they would claim that no matter what, right? We'll see by Sunday, or maybe even by the time Jimenez is scheduled to start in Rockies at Padres, Saturday night (8:35 ET) at Petco Park. Aaron Harang, the scheduled starter for San Diego, is also available, and has been a possibility for the Tigers, Indians and others.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 12:31 pm

Tigers try again for Jimenez

With their once-lengthy list of starting pitching targets shrinking, the Tigers are making another longshot run at top choice Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Tigers were considered to be basically out of the Ubaldo derby, because the Rockies valued other teams' prospects more highly.

But the Tigers are increasingly desperate to improve their rotation, fueling one more run at Jimenez, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday morning.

It still seems unlikely that the Tigers could actually get Jimenez. According to one source with knowledge of the talks, a Tiger package would need to start with Jacob Turner and/or Rick Porcello. Turner is the Tigers' top prospect, and has been declared near-untouchable in trade talks. Porcello is their 22-year-old third starter, and while Jimenez would be an upgrade, the Tigers would still have a hole in their rotation.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has been willing to move "untouchable" prospects in the past, if he likes the return enough. Both Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller were considered untouchable when Dombrowski put them together in a package for Miguel Cabrera at the winter meetings in 2007.

And the Tigers really are desperate for a pitcher. So far this season, they have a 41-23 record when they start Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer or Porcello, a 10-11 record with fourth starter Brad Penny, and a 4-16 record with any of the various pitchers they have used as fifth starters.

The Yankees and Red Sox are better positioned than the Tigers to get Jimenez, because of the value the Rockies put on their prospects. But it's possible that neither of the two American League East powers would budge on the players the Rockies covet, and perhaps that could put the Tigers in position to land Jimenez.

The Rockies continue to say that they won't trade Jimenez at all if they don't get the package they're looking for. The Indians, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays have all been involved in Jimenez talks.

The Tigers remain interested in Hiroki Kuroda, and to some extent in Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang. There was talk in baseball that they might go after Jason Marquis of the Nationals (one source suggested that the Nats like young Tiger reliever Ryan Perry), but that seems to be a lesser possibility at this point.

The Tigers also plan to have a scout watching Erik Bedard when he comes off the disabled list to start for the Mariners Friday night, but a move for Bedard is also considered unlikely.

The Tigers' renewed interest in Jimenez was first reported by Foxsports.com.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:43 pm

In weak pitching market, Kuroda is a star

The fact that Hiroki Kuroda has emerged as one of the biggest names on the starting pitching market tells you all you need to know about that market.

Kuroda is 37 years old. He's a free agent at the end of the year, with very little chance of re-signing with any team he is traded to. He has won just six of his 21 starts this year (and none of his last four). The Dodgers won't just give him away; in fact, they're targeting top prospects for him.

Oh, and he has a full no-trade clause, and there's much doubt (and some debate) about where he'd be willing to go -- if anywhere.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," Kuroda told reporters after his start Wednesday night.

Sounds like a perfect guy to go get.

But in a marketplace where the Rockies are holding out for a huge return on Ubaldo Jimenez, where the Rays insist to teams that they won't trade James Shields, where the Mariners won't discuss Felix Hernandez and probably won't even trade Doug Fister ("Zero chance they move him," said one official from an interested team), Kuroda has started to look good.

The Tigers seem to have him at the top of their shrinking wish list, which began with dozens of names and now may be down to Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang.

The Yankees, not thrilled about the price on Jimenez, remain involved on Kuroda.

Same goes for the Red Sox, who are telling teams they are focused on getting a right-handed hitting outfielder, but remain active with both Jimenez and Kuroda.

According to sources, the Dodgers continue to believe that Kuroda will eventually agree to go somewhere, with New York and Boston thought to be his top two picks.

"You'd think he'd be glad to go somewhere where they might score him a run," said one interested scout, noting that the Dodgers have scored just 15 runs in his last nine losses.

The Dodgers remain interested enough in the Tigers that they sent a scout to Grand Rapids, Mich., to see 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos. Castellanos is one of the Tigers' top prospects, and many in the organization doubt that they would move him for Kuroda.

The Tigers don't seem terribly interested in Erik Bedard, the Mariners pitcher who will come off the disabled list to start against the Rays Friday night. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have some interest in Bedard, although obviously that depends on how healthy he looks Friday.

Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 6:56 pm

Yankees have best shot at Ubaldo

Of all the teams that showed interest in Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez -- and there were a lot -- the Yankees have the best chance of actually landing him, according to major-league sources.

The Rockies are still telling teams that they don't need to trade Jimenez, who is 27 years old and is signed to a team-friendly contract that could run through 2014. But it's clearer than ever that the Rockies are willing to make a deal, with the Reds, possibly the Red Sox and even the Indians as other teams that match up well enough to get a deal done.

The Rangers showed signficant interest in Jimenez early on, but sources said Wednesday that they were all but out now, in large part because the teams just don't match up on the value placed on prospects. Another impediment to a Rockies-Rangers deal is the lingering frustration over last year's failed talks for Michael Young, but it appears the bigger problem was a lack of a match on prospects.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said earlier this month that he would require "a Herschel Walker-type deal" to trade Jimenez, but it appears that O'Dowd would be willing to accept something less than that, perhaps along the lines of deals that were made in recent months for Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Cliff Lee.

The Yankees have basically declared top prospect Manuel Banuelos off-limits in talks, but they have enough depth that they could put together an attractive package without him. O'Dowd is said to want three or four players in return for Jimenez, and it's thought that some combination of Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes could convince the Rockies to make a deal.

The Reds also have enough prospects to make a trade work, but they have indicated a strong reluctance to deal catcher Devin Mesoraco, the prospect who most interests the Rockies.

Talks with the Red Sox apparently haven't advanced as far, but it's believed that they would need to build a package around pitcher Kyle Weiland.

The Indians are also in on Jimenez, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com. But a source familiar with the talks described them as a longshot at best.

Other teams that showed early interest in Jimenez include the Tigers and Blue Jays, but the chances of a deal with either of those teams appear far more remote at this point.

The Yankees' pieced-together starting rotation has performed well, but they still don't have a clear No. 2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees have looked at many available starting pitchers, including Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers and Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, but Jimenez is the one guy who could slot in behind Sabathia in their rotation and make them more dangerous in October.

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