Tag:Padres
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
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Pepper: MVP arguments heat up



By Matt Snyder


It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.

1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).

2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.

On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.

Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.

“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”

It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."

Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."

And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.

Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).

Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.

LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."

Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”

No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."

It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.

“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 7:48 pm
 

Bell: 'Not traded' -- yet

By C. Trent Rosecrans

San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell is still just that -- San Diego's closer.

While the Giants claimed Bell on trade waivers earlier in the day, Bell tweeted the latest news about his situation:


However, the teams have until 1 p.m. on Friday to work out a deal and Bell has neither a no-trade clause nor five and 10 rights allowing him to block a trade, so it's still possible.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Report: Giants claim Heath Bell on waivers

BellBy Evan Brunell

The Giants have claimed Heath Bell off of trade waivers from the Padres, ESPN's Buster Olney has learned, which gives the teams 48 hours to work out a trade.

Trade waivers are not the same as the "traditional" waivers that everyone is accustomed to. After July 31, teams are allowed to place players on special waivers that allow the player to be traded at any point after August 1 provided he clears waivers. Upon a claim by another team, which runs in reverse order of teams in the same league before flipping over to the other league, the team (in this instance, the Padres) that placed the player (Bell) on waivers can revoke waivers and keep Bell on the team. However, if the player is placed on trade waivers a second time, the waives become irrevocable, and the player would head to a claiming team in that instance.

This is Bell's first time on trade waivers this season, so the Padres can revoke the waiver claim, so Bell is not a Giant as we speak. He only could be.

The Padres have three choices here -- let Bell go on waivers, revoke him or trade him.

Letting Bell simply go to San Francisco with no compensation will not happen. Bell is an unabashed fan of being with the Padres and has gone so far as saying he would accept an offer of arbitration for one year to stay in town. As a free agent, Bell could get many more years and dollars from another team, but wants to be a Padre. That doesn't necessarily mean Bell will return to town, but if he doesn't, the Padres will be able to get compensation picks as the closer will qualify as a Type A free agent.

Players switching teams on straight waiver claims isn't unheard of -- witness the White Sox acquiring Alex Rios a couple seasons ago through this method -- but it takes a perfect storm of a bloated contract and unneeded performance to make it happen.

Allowing Bell, one of the best closers in the game, to go on waivers -- especially to a division rival who is fighting for the division lead and just saw Brian Wilson go down with injury -- is not going to happen. For San Francisco to get Bell, it will have to trade for the closer. This is the biggest hurdle to a deal, as the Padres will want to extract as much value from Bell as they can, and the first-round pick along with another pick in between the first two rounds is significant value. The possibility of Bell accepting arbitration with San Diego isn't compelling enough to drop the price for Bell in a trade.

If the sides can't agree on a trade within 48 hours, Bell would be pulled back off waivers and would remain with the Padres at least through the end of this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:30 am
 

Pepper: Quade's excusing of Castro a mistake

Castro

By Evan Brunell

Lighten up: Much has been made of Starlin Castro missing a pitch in Sunday's game, with his back to the plate while playing in the field. Understandably, many people -- including ESPN announcer Bobby Valentine -- were outraged, with Valentine excoriating Castro on air.

Also unsurprisingly, Cubs players are rushing to Castro's defense, with Aramis Ramirez the latest to tell everyone to back off. And Ramirez has a pretty good idea what it may be like to be Castro, who is 21 years old. Ramirez made his big-league debut at age 19.

"People need to realize that he's only 21 -- he's going to make mistakes," Ramirez told MLB.com. "He's going to make mental mistakes. ... I made it to the big leagues when I was 19, and I made a lot of mistakes. That's part of [the game]."

Ramirez added that Castro has apologized to the team and everyone's moved on.

"I think [such a big deal was made] because it was an ESPN game, a nationally televised game," Ramirez said. "[But] that stuff shouldn't happen. Starlin would be the first one to tell you that shouldn't happen. Even when you're a veteran, you make mistakes."

Here's the problem, though: Mike Quade had something to say, and it was the wrong thing. Castro was benched Monday in a pretty clear response to his not paying attention to the pitch, but Quade passed it off as a mental day, missing an opportunity to show everyone -- including owner Tom Ricketts, who may fire Quade after the year -- that he's the boss. He missed another opportunity by excusing Castro's behavior for the limelight of being a Cubs player.

"I may agree that too much was being made of it but this is the world we're in and this is the spotlight we're under," Quade said. "You can think what you want, but when you're playing in a market like this at a level like this, you can expect this kind of attention, and you can expect to be under a microscope like this."

Since when did a player's uniform affect attention span? Not paying attention during the game is not paying attention, period.

Back at it
: The next outing for Stephen Strasburg will come on Saturday, which will be his fifth rehab start since returning from Tommy John surgery. It's also the first one that will be at a higher level than Single-A, with Strasburg heading to Triple-A, which should allow Strasburg to lock in and focus on executing pitches against advanced competition as he prepares for an early September return to Washington. (Washington Times)

Will Wandy go? Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle says that how the Astros handle the Wandy Rodriguez waiver claim situation will go a long way in determining how new owner Jim Crane will handle things. " Is he really about trying try to build things the right way for sustainable success, or is the endgame nothing more than to dump salary for dumping salary’s sake?" Campbell writes. "If the Astros do nothing more than a salary dump, however, then fans have reason to be afraid — very afraid — for the future. Houston is too big and too good of a market to become the National League’s Kansas City of the South — perpetually turning over the roster with young, cheap players without committing the resources necessary to build a winner."

Best scooper: Eric Hosmer wasn't called up to the majors until May 6, but his 27 scoops at first base (yes, this really is measured) is just one behind Adam Lind for most in the AL, while Carlos Pena leads baseball with 52. Three additional AL players have 27 scoops. “What I had to learn when I got here,” Hosmer told the Kansas City Star, “was, when you pick it, you’ve got to stay through it (with a sweeping motion). You have an imaginary line on where you think the ball is going to bounce. Before, I was just working up and down. Then I learned to go through the ball.”

Capping the draft: There were plenty of big paydays to high school and college players once the dust settled last week on the signing deadline for drafted players. The money is so exorbitant, that it's only deepened commissioner Bud Selig's resolve to introduce a hard-slotting system. But is that good for baseball? (Kansas City Star)

Moneyball: Before long, the blockbuster movie centered around the book that made so many waves in baseball will premiere, with Brad Pitt as A's GM Billy Beane. New York Magazine has a great story out about the movie and how it had to jump through hoops to get made... and what, exactly, Hollywood is taking away from Moneyball.

Game changed: But Billy Beane says the game is different these days, and the gap between the big- and low-money teams is even more pronounced, with the window for small markets to compete that much smaller than just a decade ago, as Oakland has been reduced to taking fliers on players as their only options.  “Sometimes, you’re relegated to buying that lottery ticket,” Beane told the New York Times. “Anybody will tell you that the lottery is not a great way to invest your money. But sometimes, you don’t have a lot of options.”

Window closing? Since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, they have yet to win another postseason game. With Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols and others only getting older and reaching free agency, is it possible St. Louis' window of competition has closed? It seems like it, but how did the window get missed in the first place with strong teams over the last four years? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Brave injuries
: Tommy Hanson, one of Atlanta's best pitchers, keeps experiencing setbacks while sensation Jose Constanza is hobbled by a right-ankle sprain. Constanza is day-to-day and could be back as early as Wednesday, but Hanson is a different story. He threw a nine-pitch throwing session on Monday, the first time throwing from the mound since Aug. 6, but the report was sobering enough that his Tuesday bullpen session was canceled. Hanson will now wait for his condition to improve. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Say-Hey Kid: Cameron Maybin received an honor by spending time at the home of baseball great Willie Mays, and Maybin was understandably bowled over by the meeting. Mays has been impressed with Maybin this season and invited him over when San Diego was in San Francisco before Tuesday's game. The Giants said while Mays has been known to go out to dinner with young players, they can't recall an invitation to go to Mays' home ever being extended to a player. “I took him my jersey, signed it for him,” Maybin told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Think of that. My jersey’s in Willie Mays’ house.”

Starting Greinke: The Brewers considered delaying Zack Greinke's next start so he could face the Cardinals, but manager Ron Roenicke may not go that route. Roenicke believes that Milwaukee should focus on winning every game, while Greinke isn't keen on starting a game on eight days rest. Nothing is decided yet, but the outcome appears obvious. (MLB.com)

Web Gems: Last season, Sam Miller of the Orange County Register found an East Coast bias in Web Gems, which may have been in part due to fan voting. This season, though, with tweaked rules, there is no such bias. The top five teams with the most Web Gems in 2011 are the Indians, Rangers, Rays, Brewers and Royals.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Giants hope for home cooking

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Home, sweet home: San Francisco returns to AT&T Park after a 4-6 road trip, but find themselves treading water against a struggling Arizona squad that has lost six games in a row. After losing their last four series, the Giants open a 12-game home stand with San Diego for two games before Houston and Chicago come to town, setting up a big three-game set with division-leading Arizona. The Giants play 21 of their final 34 games at home, where they have the fourth-best winning percentage (.583) among National League teams. San Diego is 11 games under .500, but has won 12 of its last 18 games. The two-game series against San Diego is the start of a run of interdivisional games for the Giants, who play NL West teams 27 times in their final 34 and are done with non-NL West teams after this homestand. Padres at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

Hanging on: Two second place teams, the White Sox and Angels, start a quick two-game series at Angel Stadium. The series won't make or break either team, but both hope to keep pace in their divisional races. The White Sox are tied for second with Indians, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central, while the Angels are 4 1/2 game behind the Rangers in the AL West. Both pitchers -- Chicago's Mark Buehrle and Los Angeles' Ervin Santana -- had winning streaks snapped in their last outting. Buehrle hadn't lost since June 16 and had a snap of 18 starts of allowing three runs or fewer by giving up four runs in a loss to Cleveland. Santana allowed four runs (three earned) in a loss to the Rangers last Wednesday, pitching into the eighth inning. Still, Santana has gone 6-3 with a 1.87 ERA over his last 12 starts, while Buehrle is 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA over his last 12 starts. White Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

Youth movement: In his last start, Braves left-hander Mike Minor didn't give up a run in six innings of work, striking out nine batters and walking one (intentionally), allowing just four hits. Since entering the rotation in the place of Tommy Hanson, Minor's gone 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts, showing why the Braves think so highly of the 23-year-old former first-round pick. Cubs right-hander Casey Coleman has been less successful in replacing Carlos Zambrano in the Chicago rotation. In his first start in place of Zambrano, Coleman allowed 10 hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Houston. He's 2-5 overall with a 7.43 ERA, but his ERA is lowered a bit to 7.05 as a starter. Braves at Cubs, 8:05 p.m ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Moustakas on hot streak

Moustakas

By Evan Brunell

GETTING HOT: Mike Moustakas didn't find the major leagues much to his liking in the early going, but things have turned around thanks to a recent tear that's lifted Moose's batting average to .206.

That's an accomplishment when it was at .182 mere days ago. Over the last five games, the third baseman has collected eight hits in 16 trips to the plate, doing much of his damage against the Red Sox who just completed a four-game series with Kansas City.

“Whenever you’re going bad,” Moustakas told the Kansas City Star, “you need those little things here and there to pick you back up, and this homestand kind of helped me out.”

Also encouraging from the 22-year-old is the three doubles collected during his five-game hot streak, a display of power that hasn't been around this year. It's taken quite some time for Moustakas to get used to the majors, but the Royals have proven to be very patient. Working in Moustakas' favor is that he's struggled at every single new level he's risen, so if history is any indication, he will snap out of his slump in due time.

Moustakas credits his turnaround with working alongside hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to close up his front shoulder more when at the plate. He needed some time to get into a groove with the new stance, but results are starting to show.

“Anytime you change something, it’s gonna feel uncomfortable,” Moustakas said. “But Seitz told me just stick with it, it’s gonna work out. And it ended up working out right now. I’m hitting the ball harder, squaring a little more balls up, so it’s paying off.”

BEAST MODE
: The Brewers have started up a tradition, making hand gestures after a big play that translates to "beast mode." The inspiration came from the movie Monsters Inc. and describes what Milwaukee has been up to lately with a 22-3 record in its last 25 games.

"I don't want it getting carried away," manager Ron Roenicke said of the new trend to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Do I like it? Not particularly. But I don't think I'll say, 'Don't do it.' If I see it getting worse, I'll say no. I didn't like when the Rangers did the 'antlers' thing [last year]. If you're old school, you're not going to get along in the game these days."

BEST DRAFT: It's been a week since the deadline for drafted players to sign has passed. With a few days to digest, Jim Callis came up with the top five drafts, with the Nationals heading the list. Also ranking among the top five are the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Pirates and Rays. (Baseball America)

COMPLETE PACKAGE: The New York Times ran a profile on Miguel Cabrera, who is one of the best young players in the game. Seriously -- he doesn't seem to be considered a superstar, but maybe he should be, as this factoid suggests: "Only five players in major-league history have had 1,500 hits and 250 homers, while hitting .310 or better, through their age-28 season. They are Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols and Cabrera."

BEST BALLPARK: Four teenagers went on a trip, taking in games at all 30 stadiums in 54 days. The best stadium according to the four? Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark -- a quality park, but not one you usually hear as the best. It may have helped that they witnessed a walkoff in the Reds game. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

LOSING CUBA: A wave of defections across Cuban sports have recently left a void in Cuba, where sports is not a lucrative field. That's caused many athletes to defect in the aim to compete against higher competition and make more money. To help address the problem, Cuba is finally considering allowing its athletes to play abroad. (Associated Press, via The Globe and Mail)

LOOKING BACK: A year ago this week, Cody Ross was claimed off waivers by the Giants. The Padres were also interested in Ross, but the division leaders at that point declined to put in a claim while San Francisco won his rights. Of course, Ross ended up a postseason hero, while the Padres were frozen out -- but to hear GM Jed Hoyer say it, he would make the same move again. (Tom Krasovic, Inside the Padres)

MAKING FUN OF WERTH: Phillies fans have a new favorite pastime, which is making fun of Jayson Werth. Still roundly booed for taking a lucrative deal to play for the Nationals, the ex-Phillie felt the "love" during a homestand in which Phillies fans virtually took over Nationals Park. A Philadelphia car dealer got in on the fun, running an anti-Werth ad on Philadelphia sites. (Washington Post)

TWEETING TICKETS
: Jesse Litsch challenged fans to find him in Wonderland, an amusement park near Toronto. The winner received two tickets to Tuesday's game, but it took until Litsch winning a gigantic Spongebob prize and tweeting about it for him to be spotted. (Toronto Star)

MOST HANDSOME SOPHOMORE: SI.com has photos from high school of 28 athletes, and Nolan Ryan and Barry Bonds are among the stars. One one came away with the designation of most handsome sophomore, though -- that being Ryan, who was among the 1965 class.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Thome hits waivers, could be traded

By Matt Snyder

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome -- who recently joined an elite group of sluggers by hitting his 600th career home run -- has been placed on waivers (Ken Rosenthal via Twitter). So it's possible he could be traded within the next week.

Yes, there was a trade deadline back on July 31, but it's a non-waiver deadline. In the month of August, players who clear waivers can be traded. Also, players could be claimed via the waivers process and then traded to the team that claimed them.

Rosenthal reports that the Phillies want Thome, but seeing as how they have the best record in baseball -- and, thus, the last shot at him in the waivers process -- it's very doubtful he makes it to them. What about a return to Cleveland for Thome? With Travis Hafner going on the disabled list Monday, it's possible the Tribe ends up with an opening at DH. Going back to Cleveland, where Thome spent the first 12 years of his career, would be a nice story and give the Indians an obvious offensive upgrade. Thome has an .868 OPS with 12 home runs this season in just 230 plate appearances.

The Yankees could also be interested in an upgrade at DH, while the Giants and Braves would certainly benefit from some punch off the bench.

Rosenthal also reports Carlos Pena, Jason Kubel and Heath Bell hit waivers Monday.

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Posted on: August 21, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Hell's Bells: Padres retire Hoffman's number

By Matt Snyder

No member of the San Diego Padres will ever wear number 51 again, as the team has retired the number of long-time closer Trevor Hoffman. There was a ceremony before Sunday's Marlins-Padres game honoring the likely future Hall of Famer. To even further honor Hoffman, the Padres started the game at 1:51 p.m. local time (Dan Hayes via Twitter).

Fittingly, Hoffman emerged from the bullpen to AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" (Dan Hayesvia Twitter), as was customary for years when Hoffman would enter the game. Back then he was wearing No. 51 and instilling fear in opposing hitters -- at least the fear of looking stupid when whiffing at his killer changeup -- this time around he was with his family and wearing a suit.

Hoffman was greeted by Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Steve Garvey and Randy Jones, the other four Padres with retired uniform numbers.

Padres Retired No.'s
No. Player
6 Steve Garvey
19 Tony Gwynn
31 Dave Winfield
35 Randy Jones
51 Trevor Hoffman
"It's a guy's dream come true," Hoffman said (Hayes via Twitter). "It's hard to put this in perspective."

Hoffman also thanked his family for being his "foundation." (PadsCast via Twitter)

At the end of the ceremony, the Padres presented Hoffman with a 1958 Cadillac convertible. (PadsCast)

Hoffman, 43, was with the Padres for 16 seasons, racking up 552 of his major-league record 601 career saves. He made six All-Star teams as a member of the Padres and was the closer for four San Diego playoff appearances, including the 1998 World Series team. He retired last year after two seasons with the Brewers, but his legacy is clearly as a Padre.

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