The current URL -- you know, where you're reading this -- won't have updating blog posts any longer. So if you noticed there were no posts here today, it wasn't because we were being lazy. We just have been posting under the new platform and will continue to do so as time rolls on.
Thank you for your continued support of Eye on Baseball and feel free to shoot me an email with any concerns: Matt.Snyder@CBS.com.
The Padres' offseason was dominated by their trade with the Reds -- sending starter Mat Latos to Cincinnati for four players, including projected starting first baseman Yonder Alonso and former All-Star Edinson Volquez. In an attempt to find more offense, the Padres also added Carlos Quentin in a deal with the White Sox. The Padres know their problem is scoring runs, and now it's just trying to figure out how to get it.
Prospects to watch While the Latos trade is one that will be referenced throughout the season, the team could ultimately benefit more from last season's traded that sent reliever Mike Adams to Texas in return for right-hander Joe Wieland and left-hander Robbie Erlin. Both Wieland and Erlin are control pitchers with flyball tendencies that will benefit from the trade. Both starters project to benefit from pitching half their games at spacious Petco Park rather than at the bandbox in Texas. Wieland went 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts at Double-A San Antonio after the trade, while Erlin was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in six starts for the Padres' Texas League affiliate. Both could find themselves in the big leagues later this year.
Fantasy sleeper: Edinson Volquez "Volquez struck out 19 in 23 2/3 innings and held the opposition to a .250 batting average in four September starts. Another reason to be encouraged is that Volquez has a strong history at his new home ballpark, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. PETCO Park can also help Volquez as he looks to cut down on his home runs allowed. Volquez was plagued by the long ball in 2011, yielding 1.6 homers per nine innings." -- Michael Hurcomb [Full Padres fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Yonder Alonso "There are a few issues heading into 2012 we need to highlight before Fantasy owners reach for Alonso on Draft Day. The first being that he is moving to pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Alonso is more of a line-drive hitter, which won't help his power numbers in San Diego. Second, Alonso is just 69 games into his MLB career. Once opposing teams get a better scouting report, the road will almost certainly get tougher for Alonso." -- Michael Hurcomb [Full Padres fantasy preview]
Optimistic outlook The offensive additions bring a jolt to the Padres, with Quentin leading the way. While Petco does play big, it's not as extreme against right-handed pull hitters and he has one of the best offensive seasons we've seen in Petco. Speaking of offense, Alonso's left-handed but his natural stroke leads to a ton of doubles and with Maybin on base more often, he scores easily on so many of Alonso's two-baggers. The pitching staff benefits from the park more than the offense hurts and once again an unheralded pitching staff dominates -- led by a finally healthy Volquez -- and leads San Diego to a surprising run at the National League West title.
Pessimistic outlook It's the same old, same old -- decent pitching at home, but not enough runs. Without scoring runs, the team slogs through another season, losing more than 90 games again. But hey, they're still in San Diego, so it's not all that bad.
At this point of the season, there's little reason to worry much about free agency -- there's a lot more things to happen before it's an issue. But during the long six weeks of real nothingness that is spring training, most of the free agents-to-be will be asked about their impending status.
Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke is today's subject. In Brewers camp, the 28-year-old was asked about his plans after this season. While, as is customary in this dance, Greinke said he was interested in re-signing with Milwaukee, he also acknowledged the possibility of listening to offers.
Greinke is currently without an agent, but said he'd hire a new one after the season -- thus insinuating he's not going to sign with the Brewers before testing the free-agent waters.
"I think it would be kind of neat. There could be positives to it, and there could end up being negatives. It’s not like everyone who gets to free agency, it ends up working perfectly for them, and everything comes true that they want," Greinke told Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Sometimes it ends up backfiring on you and you would have been better off signing with your team. A lot of times, when you get all 30 teams fighting for you, you should be in a pretty good situation. It has happened where it doesn’t work out for people."
That kind of statement sows the seeds in the mind of the Brewers' brass that he could re-sign with the Brewers before he's eligible for free agency. He noted that owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin are expected to meet this weekend to talk about an extension with Greinke.
Said Melvin (again, via the Journal Sentinel): "Mark and I have to talk first," said Melvin. "We won't let (having no agent) stop us if we decide to talk to him. There's no timetable to do it. We haven't set any timetable. We definitely have to have a conversation (with Greinke) before the season starts. I'd like to be able to do that."
That said, he should be, along with Cole Hamels and Matt Cain, the prize of the free-agent market this coming winter. No matter what is said now, there's a lot more money available after the season than before it. The Brewers will certainly make an offer, but that doesn't guarantee much, if anything.
David Robertson may not even have the oddest injury of the spring for any pitcher named David in the American League East.
Rays left-hander David Price Thursday's game after two innings with what the team called a "minor neck spasm." How does one suffer a minor neck spasm? Well, apparently by toweling off the beck of his head just a bit too hard.
Don't believe me? Ask Price.
If you didn't click on the video, Price said it's happened to him before and he shouldn't miss any time. [Tampa Bay Times]
• Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter may not make his scheduled start on Monday because of neck stiffness that has halted his training.
Carpenter canceled his throwing session on Wednesday and said Thursday he's been bothered by the neck stiffness. He was scheduled to throw Friday, but that may not happen, either. He said there's no timetable for his return. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
• Manny Ramirez may return from a sore back on Saturday against the Reds. Ramirez has played two games this spring and was scratched on Wednesday. [MLB.com]
• Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was a late scratch from Thursday's exhibition game because of a tightness in his left calf. He's listed as day-to-day, but expects to play either Friday or Saturday.
Harper said he didn't feel the tightness when hitting, but did feel it when he was in the outfield. [Washington Times]
• Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche played in a minor-league intrasquad game on Thursday, but he's still limited on his injured foot. He hit a home run during the game, but he wasn't able to get a real feel how his foot felt. He said he may be able to play in a big-league exhibition by Saturday. [MASNSports.com]
• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will make his spring debut on March 14. Markakis had abdominal surgery in the offseason. He'll DH at first. [Baltimore Sun]
• Reds left-hander Bill Bray had been shut down for two weeks with a groin injury and then stopped his scheduled bullpen session short on Wednesday. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters that could lead to Aroldis Chapman moving back to the bullpen.
The Reds have tried stretching Chapman out and using him as a starter this spring, but he could be back in the bullpen with Bray's injury. Chapman is starting Friday in a split-squad game against the Giants. [Cincinnati Enquirer]
• The Rangers' Brad Hawpe was scratched from a B game against the White Sox because of a setback with his right hamstring. Hawpe was supposed to lead off every inning in his first action of the spring, but instead "overdid it" getting ready on Wednesday.
Hawpe said he expects to be ready by Friday. [MLB.com]
• Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez hasn't thrown in a spring training game yet, and there's no telling when he will return from the tightness in his throwing shoulder. He's expected to throw for the team in Jupiter on Friday. [Miami Herald] For more baseball news, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Or ...
The Astros may or may not wear the original Colt .45s uniform complete with the smoking gun graphic, but at least the decision will be the team's to make.
Major League Baseball had originally told the Astros they couldn't wear the classic uniform with the gun on it as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebration. When the team debut in 1962, the Colt .45s featured a smoking pistol, with the smoke making up the "C" in "Colt."
Now the team will make its decision known on Friday whether it will wear the awesome uniform or cop-out and wear a plain, boring, inaccurate uniform (can you tell which side I'm on?). In a statement released Thursday, the team said:
"Over the past few months, the club has been in discussion with Major League Baseball about whether to wear the authentic Colt .45s jersey. The original logo features the Colts name and a pistol. The alternative jersey would only have the Colts name on the front of the jersey. This week, MLB informed the Astros that the decision would be left to the ballclub.
"The Astros organization continues to value fan input, therefore the Astros have been reaching out to fans the past week to get their opinion on this issue.
"Our fans have expressed overwhelming passion and support for the Astros and our rich 50-year tradition. We plan to announce our decision tomorrow, Friday, March 9."
The team is scheduled to wear the uniform as part of its "Flashback Fridays" promotion this season, wearing the Colt .45s uni on April 10 against the Braves and April 20 against the Dodgers.
The Houston franchise wore the uniform from 1962-64.
“The difference between Boston and Philadelphia, the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball,” Papelbon said (CBS Local). “The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played."
To be fair, it's tough to tell if an athlete is pandering to a new fan base when something like this is said, and he did say he enjoyed the Boston fans.
"I’ve had a guy take of his prosthetic leg and throw it in the bullpen in Boston,” Papelbon said (CBS Local). “It’s a religion. It’s a way of life. They come to the field and they expect certain things out of players. It’s an environment where you put up or shut up. I enjoyed that. It got my motor running every day.”
So he wasn't attacking Boston or the Red Sox fans. Still, he did say Phillies fans are more knowledgeable and I can't imagine that sits well with Boston fans.
What say you, fans, was he right? Go ahead and vote, hash it out in the comments, whatever you wish ...
Negative stories about celebrities and professional athletes get plenty of attention, so we try to pass along the real positive ones whenever we can -- like Marlins catcher John Buck playing hero of the day this past offseason -- and here's another one to pass along: Reds reliever Bill Bray is going to shave his head in an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research on March 17.
Note that this is taking place on St. Patrick's Day, and it's no coincidence. Bray's charity is the St. Baldrick's Foundation -- note that it's combining "bald" with the holiday.
Bray's personal tie to the cause is his 10-year-old cousin, Trevor, who has been fighting neuroblastoma cancer for the past several years.
“Trevor’s parents wanted me to get several signed baseballs for their upcoming auction, but I wanted to do more,” said Bray in a statement. “I thought, in addition to that, I should shave my head to raise money and national awareness for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Shaving my head is a simple sacrifice for a promising reward for Trevor and other children battling cancer every day.”