Tag:Matt Snyder
Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:18 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

By Matt Snyder

Earlier Wednesday, Forbes.com released its annual list of most disliked athletes, and only one baseball player appeared on it. Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. Now, I don't say that because I personally dislike A-Rod (I don't), but it's pretty evident he's the most hated baseball player among casual fans nation-wide.

[EYE ON NFL: Suh, Vick, Burress among most-disliked athletes]

But seeing the list got me thinking -- from a baseball standpoint, because that's what I do -- of two different things. First of all, that's pretty cool that only one player made the list. The NBA and NFL combined for seven of the top 10. Plus, a few years ago, I'm sure A-Rod would have been joined by Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.

So is baseball becoming more irrelevant? I'd say no. The World Series got gigantic ratings and earlier this year was tied with college football for second in a poll of America's favorite sport (take a wild guess as to what was No. 1).

So it's entirely possible baseball's new crop of players are just that much more likable. The testing for PEDs has to help, obviously, because fans really seem to hate guys getting rich and taking down records from beloved players like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and the like by cheating the system. I feel like there's more to it, but that's probably a different discussion for a different day.

Anyway, the second thing that came to mind was this: A-Rod's been a fan punching bag for far too long. Isn't it old at this point? And, really, "A-Roid?" C'mon, let's be more creative than that. Baseball needs a new Public Enemy No. 1.

Bud Selig probably qualifies for many, judging from the intense ire he draws in our comments section, just as Frank McCourt and the Wilpon family do, but this is only for players.

And my best guess is Bryce Harper.

Just as I did with A-Rod above, I'll start by pointing out that I don't dislike Harper. My colleague Gregg Doyel wrote last August about how unfairly maligned Harper is. But there's only so much that can do. Let's look at the elements that I subjectively think usually cause the national public to dislike a player -- and see how they apply to Harper.

1. He's rich. C'mon. Let's face it. Jealousy is what drives most hate, and many fans are jealous of rich athletes to begin with. But it can't be just this, otherwise every single player would be hated.

2. He's not like them. Bryce Harper was so talented he began to gain significant hype when he was 15 years old. He was rich before he turned 18, so it wasn't like he labored as an adult to "make it." Also, many sports fans are loyal to their teams and cities. Harper is a fair weather fan. He recently took to Twitter to defend himself for growing up a fan of: Duke basketball, USC football, the Yankees, the Lakers and the Cowboys. I'm guessing that makes millions of fans cringe.

3. Excessive hype. Fans generally seem to get sick of hearing about guys and hard-core baseball fans have already been hearing about Harper for the past three-plus years. And he's still not even 20. It's only going to build as he gets closer to joining the Nationals.

4. Outward arrogance/bad PR. While Harper works hard, never gets in trouble off the field and seems to have great intentions, he's had a few public relations issues already. He blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off him in the minors last year. He was ejected from a game for screaming at an umpire. At the Future's Game last year, he missed a cutoff man that ended up costing his team a run, but in the locker room he said he didn't care that he just wanted to show off his arm. It also didn't help when a coach said he faced the most scrutiny of any player since Jackie Robinson (which isn't a comparison, but when the names are used side-by-side it just feels wrong to many).

Fair or not -- and I'd argue almost all of this is unfair -- many fans are already taking to message boards and Twitter and calling Harper things like a "spoiled little kid." I'm guessing that Harper hits this list within the next few years. So maybe A-Rod passes the torch to Harper.

And here's the thing that is most important: The entire general public doesn't "hate" someone irrelevant. So Nationals fans should actually be rooting for Harper to be good enough to "deserve," if you will, the impending wave of scorn.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:41 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 11:12 am
 

Rangers, Andrus agree on 3-year, $14.4M extension



By Matt Snyder


The Rangers and shortstop Elvis Andrus have agreed on a three-year contract extension that is worth $14.4 million, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. News of the extension was first reported by Fox Sports.

Probably not coincidentally, Andrus was under Rangers control for three more seasons, so he's still set to be a free agent after the 2014 season. This deal just means the two sides avoid arbitration until then. Also, it represents a sizable pay bump for Andrus, as he was only asking for $3.6 million in arbitration. Of course, he could have made more in 2013 and 2014, but a deal like this mitigates the players' risk in losing out on millions in the case he suffers a major injury.

Andrus, 23, hit .279/.347/.361 with 96 runs scored and 37 stolen bases last season. He's also an above average defensive player and teams with Adrian Beltre to form arguably the best left-side of the infield in baseball -- or you could say he teams with Ian Kinsler to form one of the best up-the-middle defensive combinations.

The deal is pending a physical.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:29 pm
 

Oakland's Beane, Crowley to sign extensions

By Matt Snyder

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and president Michael Crowley could be running things for owner Lew Wolff for a long time. The two executives have agreed to sign contract extensions through the 2019 season, the owner said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Oakland's Busy Offseason
“I view them as partners as well as executives,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com). “So if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me. I may not be here to see it, but that will be fine.”

Immediately after the news broke, several Oakland area reporters noted on Twitter that this is a great sign the A's are going to get their new stadium in San Jose. Wolff himself hinted as much.

“Somebody said the reason I am doing it is I want one or the other to be able to wheel me into the new stadium,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com).

Beane has been the GM since the end of the 1997 season while Crowley has been president since the end of the '98 campaign. Beane, 49, is famously portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie "Moneyball," which was released last summer. Under this management tandem, the A's went to the playoffs five times in seven years (2000-03, 2006). On the flip-side, the A's haven't been above .500 since 2006 and finished 74-88 last season.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:03 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Dodgers, Kershaw agree to two-year contract

By Matt Snyder

The Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a two-year contract extension worth $19 million to the left-hander, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Kershaw still won't be a free agent until 2015, so this contract doesn't change anything along those lines. It does avoid arbitration for next season, too, though. In arbitration this year, Kershaw was asking for a $10 million salary while the Dodgers were offering $6.5 million, so this deal represents a mutually beneficial compromise. Kershaw will get $7.5 million this season, $11 million in 2013 and a $500,000 signing bonus.

At a similar point in his career, Giants ace Tim Lincecum signed a similar deal, but it was a more lucrative two years and $23 million. Of course, Lincecum had two Cy Youngs by that point, while Kershaw "only" has the one he won in 2011.

Kershaw, 23, was 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 248 strikeouts in 233 1/3 innings last season. He also won a Gold Glove and made his first All-Star Game.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:03 pm
 

Yankees sign Bill Hall to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

Free agent Bill Hall has signed with the Yankees. The news was broken by Bill Hall, as he just posted on his own Twitter account: "IT'S OFFICIAL IM A YANKEE!!!!!!!! #IwannaRing!!!!" CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports that Hall signed a minor-league deal worth $600,000 with incentives.

Hall, 32, spent the first seven years of his career with the Brewers, but he's become a journeyman since then. In the past three seasons, he's played for five teams (including another stint with the Brewers). Last season, he spent time with both the Giants and the Astros, hitting .211/.261/.314 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 199 plate appearances. He did hit 18 homers in just 344 at-bats for the Red Sox in 2010, so there's hope for a decent season.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Hall played second base and left field last season, but he's spent a lot of time at third base, too. If Hall makes the club, he'll provide infield depth along with Eduardo Nunez.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:43 pm
 

Video: Verlander's new video game commercial

By Matt Snyder

After a season in which he won the AL Cy Young and MVP, it's not a surprise that Justin Verlander landed on the cover of a video game. He's on MLB2K12, and below is what Verlander noted on Twitter was the first promotional video for the game -- along with a cameo from C.J. Wilson in his new Angels garb.

I know there will be plenty of people saying it's lame or stupid, because, you know, it's cool to be all negative and complain on the Internet. Personally, I thought it was kind of funny. You definitely won't confuse Verlander for an Oscar winning actor or anything, but I dig the facial expressions with the voice over.

Check it out:



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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:27 pm
 

Report: Former big leaguer shot, killed

By Matt Snyder

Former Orioles and Rays player Danny Clyburn Jr. was shot and killed early Tuesday morning in his hometown of Lancaster, S.C., reports the Lancaster Herald.

Obviously, details are still sketchy at this point, but witnesses reportedly told police Clyburn was seen arguing with a man moments before he was shot. And then there's this (from the Herald):
Derrick Lamont Mcilwain, 36, of Lancaster, has been arrested and charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Mcilwain turned himself in to authorities early Tuesday, police said, and he is in the detention center awaiting a bond hearing.
Clyburn played 41 games in three seasons for the Orioles and Rays back in 1997-99.

He was just 37 years old.

Via Hardball Talk

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:06 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Reports: Marlins to meet with Cespedes Wednesday

By Matt Snyder

And the dance begins ...

Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes has been said to have anywhere from six to 12 suitors at different points this offseason, but he first needed to gain residency in the Dominican Republic. Once that was done, he still had to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He then needed to be "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Coming to America
Tuesday, multiple reports surfaced (including Juan C. Rodriguez, Miami beat writer) that Cespedes has acquired a visa and will arrive in Miami either Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon [UPDATE: He's here, and Rodriguez took a picture of Cespedes in the airport upon his arrival]. Those reports are also stating the Marlins will meet with Cespedes Wednesday in an attempt to woo him.

Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that some scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba.

"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com in December. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues."

In addition to the Marlins, the Cubs and Tigers have been most heavily connected to Cespedes in rumors.

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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