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Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: March 30, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 4:05 pm

The All-DL opening day All-Stars

It's a team that might contend for a title, if it could only get on the field.

Then again, that's exactly the problem.

Think of the players that will (or likely will) begin the season on the disabled list. It's quite a group, lacking a little (for now) on the left side of the infield and behind the plate, but overflowing with top-level starting pitching and back-of-the-bullpen depth.

Not all the opening day rosters are official yet. Some teams are waiting until closer to Thursday's 11 a.m. deadline for final decisions, which only means that the All-DL-Stars could have an even better lineup by the time the first pitch is thrown.

Jason Bay, for example, should be your All-DL-Star left fielder by then. The Mets are expected to put him on the disabled list, but they haven't said so publicly yet. So I left him off, in part because this team is strong enough without him.

For now, we'll only go with guys we're pretty sure of.

So here goes:

1B -- Kendrys Morales, Angels

2B -- Chase Utley, Phillies

SS -- Clint Barmes, Astros

3B -- Nick Punto, Cardinals

LF -- Cody Ross, Giants (Bay could take his spot)

CF -- Grady Sizemore, Indians (with Franklin Gutierrez also available)

RF -- Corey Hart, Brewers

C -- Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

Rotation -- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals; Zack Greinke, Brewers; Johan Santana, Mets; Mat Latos, Padres; Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays (with Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and others in reserve)

Closer -- Brian Wilson, Giants (with the Phillies' Brad Lidge and the A's Andrew Bailey setting him up)

You'd take that team, wouldn't you?

You'd be guaranteed to lose on opening day, because not one of them could play, but you'd take that team.

Posted on: January 21, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 9:36 pm

Angels needed to act, but . . .

Remember when I said the Angels had to do something big, that they had to land someone big, that if they didn't get Carl Crawford and they didn't get Adrian Beltre, they had to get someone big?

Maybe I was wrong.

The Angels just got someone big, someone who hit 31 home runs last year, someone who has been on the All-Star team three times. After a winter in which the Angels seemed to fear every big contract, the Angels just got someone with one of the biggest contracts in the game.

And it's hard to get away from the thought that they were better off when they were doing nothing.

Now they've traded Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells, and the question people in baseball were asking Friday night was, "Why?" Or, more accurately, "WHY????"

Wells was once a good player, but he's now 32 years old and still has four years and $86 million remaining on a contract that until Friday was considered one of the most untradeable in the game. And the Angels, incredibly, took on the entire $86 million (although they'll save about $11 million on Rivera and Napoli).

The Angels are obviously convinced that Wells' 2010 season (31 home runs, an .847 OPS and stunning home-road splits) is the sign of a mid-career bounceback, and maybe a sign that Wells' earlier problems were a result of a wrist problem (see colleague Scott Miller's column from last May).

But what if it isn't?

Any big free agent is a risk. Any big trade is a risk. But as Scott said when I told him of the trade Friday night, this one feels like a slugger who has been striking out all night and goes up in the late innings and just swings wildly for the fences.

Maybe the Angels hit a home run with Wells. Just as likely, it's just another strikeout -- and a hugely expensive strikeout, at that.

Crawford would have been a risk, too, but he would have helped change an Angels offense that has gotten older and less athletic as the years have gone on. Wells, who is 32 and signed through 2014, does none of that.

He gives the Angels a guy who once led the league with 49 doubles -- but that was eight years ago, when he was 24. He gives a guy who has three 100-RBI seasons -- but the last of those was five years ago, when he was 27.

He's a big name, and the Angels will have an easier time saying they've made a splash with this move (unlike in December, when general manager Tony Reagins said he'd made one by signing middle reliever Hisanori Takahashi).

But it's hard to get away from the thought that this splash will hit them right between the eyes.

Posted on: January 21, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 9:37 pm

Angels get Vernon Wells from Blue Jays

The Angels have acquired outfielder Vernon Wells in a two-for-one trade with the Blue Jays.

Catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera go to the Blue Jays in the deal. Incredibly, the Blue Jays aren't including any money in the deal to offset the $86 million remaining on Wells' contract.

Wells was considered one of the most untradeable players in baseball, because of that contract, which still has four years to run, and declining stats over the last several seasons. He did have something of a bounceback 31-home run 2010 season, but 20 of his 31 home runs were hit at the Rogers Centre, and Wells had just 31 RBI in 300 at-bats on the road.

The Angels have had an awful winter, failing in attempts to sign free agents Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre.

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 9, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: December 9, 2010 11:16 am

When Lee signs, Greinke will go

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Royals arrived at the Winter Meetings ready to talk about a Zack Greinke trade. They left the meetings more convinced than ever that they'll trade their young ace this winter.

When? That's easy. The Royals almost certainly won't deal Greinke until Cliff Lee signs his new contract, because the Lee market strongly affects the Greinke market.

So where does Greinke go? That's much less certain, but officials familiar with the talks said four to five teams have been most aggressive. That group includes the Rangers, Brewers, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Nationals. Royals officials also continue to believe that the Yankees will pursue Greinke strongly if New York loses out on Lee.

In any case, it's very likely that Greinke will go somewhere, based on the offers that the Royals already received this week.

Greinke is signed for two more years, so the Royals have maintained all along that they don't need to trade him. But they've also realized that with this winter's thin free-agent market, this is the time to maximize his value. Besides Lee, Greinke is by far the best starting pitcher available.

Greinke is due $13.5 million each of the next two years, a reasonable salary for a pitcher who has already won a Cy Young Award. He has some no-trade protection, but it's believed that he would be amenable to most possible trades, because he has been frustrated by the losing seasons in Kansas City.

The Royals actually have a strong group of prospects on the way (some rival scouts feel they have more top prospects than any other team), but the ETA on those prospects doesn't fit Greinke's timetable. Thus, it makes sense for the Royals to shop him this winter and get even more prospects in return. They'll likely net four or five players in any Greinke trade.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 4:15 pm

Nationals inquire on Greinke

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The most interesting team of the Winter Meetings so far?

There's no question. It's the Nationals.

The latest big name they've inquired on: Royals right-hander Zack Greinke. And while it doesn't seem likely that the sides will agree on a deal, the mere fact that the Nationals showed real interest is the latest indication that the last-place Nats want to be considered serious players.

The Blue Jays and Rangers remain the teams most involved on Greinke, according to sources familiar with the talks. There hasn't been much movement yet, perhaps because the Royals continue to demand a hefty price (four or five players, according to an official of one team that inquired) and perhaps in part because a decision by free-agent Cliff Lee could affect some teams' motivation to make a deal (the Rangers, and possibly the Yankees).

The Nationals have also shown some interest in Lee, and Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider reported that general manager Mike Rizzo met with agent Darek Braunecker again on Tuesday. But officials familiar with the team's plans downplayed the chances of the Nats becoming serious contenders for Lee's services.

Greinke just turned 27, which makes him five years younger than Lee. The Royals have him under contract for two more years, so they don't need to move him this winter. But a favorable market, in which Lee is the only other premium starter available, makes a likely that Greinke will be dealt.

The Nationals made the first big signing of the Winter Meetings on Sunday, with their stunning seven-year, $126 million deal with Jayson Werth.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 2:14 pm

The Greinke market: Rangers, Blue Jays, and?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- More and more, it seems likely that the Royals will trade Zack Greinke this winter. Maybe even this week.

But where?

The teams believed to be the most interested have been the Rangers and Blue Jays, but the Royals also believe that the Yankees could become involved if they lose out on Cliff Lee. While the Yankees remain the favorites to sign Lee, some baseball people continue to believe that he will sign with the Rangers instead.

In the past, the thinking was that Greinke (who has partial no-trade protection) would never approve a deal to New York or any other big market, but one person who knows him well said today that he believes Greinke would accept a deal to the Yankees. It's less clear whether the Yankees would be willing to take the chance that he'll be able to handle New York, or that the two teams could agree on which players would be in a deal.

In any case, the Royals seem to be in a strong position, because besides Lee, there's no pitcher available on the free-agent or trade market who has anything close to Greinke's talent.

Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:44 pm

The counter-argument on Lee

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was one thing I knowingly left out of today's column on Cliff Lee, and an alert reader pointed it out.

If you haven't yet read the column, here it is . But in short, my argument was that the Rangers' best chance of keeping Lee as a free agent this winter is to beat the Yankees, and possibly go on to win the World Series this fall. The idea is that he would be more hesitant to leave after winning, and they would be even more motivated (and more financially able) to keep him if they won.

But as even one Rangers person said to me yesterday, there is a little bit of a "double-edged sword" here. And the reader, who calls himself RaiderfanNY, was quick to jump on it.

"Your argument is a good one, that the better the Rangers do, the more Lee will want to stay," he wrote. "But there is a separate -- and better -- argument for why Lee will leave. The worse the Yankees do, the more money they will offer him. If the Yanks win the Series, they may decide their rotation is fine. But if they lose to Texas in 6, they'll offer Lee whatever it takes to reel him in."

It's a valid point, but here's why I don't agree with it: The Yankees aren't going to decide their rotation is fine, even if they go on to win the World Series. A.J. Burnett is still going to be a huge question mark, even if he pitches great in what could be two postseason starts (Game 4 in the ALCS, Game 4 in the World Series). Andy Pettitte is still going to be 38 years old, and in all likelihood he's still going to be considering retirement.

The Yankees are still going to want to add a top-level starting pitcher, and the free-agent market offers only one -- Cliff Lee.

Will Lee's price go up the better he pitches? I'm sure his very able agent would say that it will. But in this case, the highest-spending team in baseball is going to be ultra-motivated to sign him, no matter what (barring serious injury). The bigger question, I think, is how motivated he'll be to stay with the Rangers, and how motivated they'll be to keep him.

And I think the answer to both of those questions depends at least in part on what happens in this coming week.

A few other reader questions and comments:

From John:

"What the hell do you mean that the Yankees will see the Rangers without Cliff Lee pitching in Game 1 or 2? News flash -- Game 2 is Saturday. Get a clue."

News flash -- Game 3 in Monday. And Cliff Lee will be starting it.

From Rob:

"While I appreciate the wonderful things Bobby Cox has done, it feels unjust that Cito Gaston retired this season with nowhere near the same amount of media reaction and love. Unfortunately, Cito has never received proper recognition. Could it be because of his color, because he managed up north, who knows?

Cito deserves more credit than he gets for winning back-to-back World Series with the Blue Jays. But Cox is at the end of a 29-year managerial career that included a record 16 postseason appearances. Cito is at the end of a 2 1/2-year second time around with the Jays. It's not the same thing.

From Richard:

"Danny, it's easy to see why you have such sympathy for Conrad. He's a career hack and so are you. You'd be so much better off if you had to come up with only one column a week. Have a nice day. Richard."

From Tom:

"Good piece, Danny. I cringed when I watched Conrad's errors. There is a lot of sympathy, for sure. . . "

Richard, meet Tom. Tom, meet Richard.

And Richard, have a nice day.

Posted on: September 21, 2010 8:05 pm

Gillick won't rule out another run as GM

PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Gillick spent much of the last month vacationing in Germany and Russia. He just turned 73, and he loves the job he has as a Phillies consultant.

And yet, Gillick won't rule out taking another job as a major-league general manager.

"You never know," he said, before the Phillies-Braves game Tuesday night. "The right situation, I might -- if it's the right situation."

Gillick is one of the best general managers ever, having built winning teams with four different franchises. He won two World Series with the Blue Jays, made the playoffs in Baltimore and Seattle and then put together the Phillies team that won it all in 2008.

Gillick retired as the Phillies general manager after the 2008 World Series, turning the team over to assistant Ruben Amaro.

"The reason I left here was that Ruben was ready," Gillick said. "Ruben had gone through a number of interviews [elsewhere], we were together for three years, and it's just like a guy that's in Triple-A, and you say, 'Is he ready to go to the big leagues?' At some point, you think the guy's ready. He was ready."

Gillick said that there was another reason he made the move at that time.

"I tried to leave him a good club, too," he said. "I've been accused that I picked my spot to get out [in the first three jobs]. That's not true."

It's hard to what Gillick would consider the "right situation," and it's hard to know if that right situation even exists. Given Gillick's record of success, though, you'd think any team with an opening would at least want to ask him.

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