Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Pirates' Paul involved in identity fraud case

Paul

By Evan Brunell


The Pirates' Xavier Paul was involved in a strange identity fraud case involving the Australian Baseball League, MLB.com reports.

Minor-leaguer Breland Brown, who played in the Diamondbacks' rookie league at age 26 for 11 games in 2011, was the alleged perpetrator of the fraud. Brown reportedly posed as an agent in a scheme a source said was "like a movie."

According to the source, Brown was said to have proposed to the ABL a deal in which Paul would agree to play in Australia this offseason provided Brown himself was also invited to play. To no surprise, the ABL accepted the agreement. To have someone of Paul's stature play baseball in Australia would be very enticing.

Paul isn't exactly a great player, but he is a current major leaguer, which would help to promote the ABL's quality of play. The 26-year-old came up through the Dodgers system and received some playing time in each of the last three seasons for Los Angeles before Pittsburgh claimed him off waivers. Paul went on to hit .254/.293/.349 for the Pirates in 251 plate appearances and has a strong shot to be a backup outfielder for Pittsburgh next season.

The ABL assigned Paul to the Brisbane Bandits and Brown to the Sydney Blue Sox. The fraud was discovered when Brisbane reached out to Paul to ask why he had not yet arrived in time for the season, which began earlier this month.

"It was all a hoax by this player (Brown) trying to get over to the ABL," the source said.

When the ABL figured out what happened, Brown was removed from the Blue Sox roster along with Paul. The situation has since come under the purview of MLB's Department of Investigations, which will look into the situation. The ABL contends that it followed protocol in recruiting international players, including contacting the Pirates to get permission for Paul's participation. The Pirates granted such permission, unaware of the fraud. Paul only got tipped off to a possible issue when he read online reports of his participation in the ABL before the fraud came to light.

"[We] are pleased to say that despite the initial misinformation, the fraudulent activity was identified in the regular course of events," said Ben Foster, general manager of the ABL. "We are currently awaiting the outcome of the internal MLB investigation and have contacted all relevant parties to alert them of the situation."

It is not known whether Brown or Paul know each other, but they have been in each other's proximity for some time. Brown was born less than an hour away from Paul's hometown of Slidell, La. and were born less than three months apart. Brown, born in Marrero, La., attended community college and played three seasons of independent baseball before signing a deal with the Yankees in October 2010 that never came to fruition. He was then picked up by Arizona this summer, later released in August.

"I am not sure about legal action as of yet, but we certainly will consider all of Xavier's rights and remedies and also will consider enforcing those rights vigorously once we have all the facts," Joe Longo, president of the agency representing Paul, said. "Xavier never spoke to the ABL or ever considered playing down there this winter."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Can Justin Verlander get to 300 wins?

Verlander

By Evan Brunell


Justin Verlander is coming off one of the most successful seasons of his career -- or really, of any pitcher's career. The right-hander unanimously won the AL Cy Young Award on Tuesday.

Verlander's credentials to win the award lie on his low ERA, his dazzling strikeout numbers and the ability to pitch deep into games. But he no problem showing up in the wins department for those who still value wins. His 24 victories are the most since Randy Johnson won 24 in 2002. Before that, you have to go all the way back to John Smoltz in 1996, who also won 24.

Award Season
Verlander
Verlander's dazzling season handed him the AL Cy Young Award victor for the first time in his career.
Read>>
Related links
Johnson, of course, is a member of the 300-win club, winning his 300th as a member of the Giants two seasons ago. But through his age 28 season, Johnson had won just 49 games. Verlander? He's sitting pretty at 107. That seems to suggest Verlander has a very real chance at 300 victories, but there's a lot more to winning 300 games than just comparing Verlander and Johnson's win totals.

(Earlier this summer, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler discussed the possibility of 300 wins with Verlander -- click here to read).

There are several reasons why Johnson won 300 games, and a large part of it is his dominance extending into his later years. The man won four straight Cy Young Awards from age 35-39, and he was a feared pitcher until the day he retired, also racking up 4,875 strikeouts. He pitched until he was 46 before finally hanging it up, more than offsetting his slow start to his career. But Johnson is the exception -- there aren't many pitchers out there who don't separate themselves as an elite pitcher until their late 20s or early 30s, then morph into one of the best pitchers in history throughout his 30s. Johnson is the exception, not the norm.

Verlander is the norm -- a dominant pitcher who debuted at a young age and has held that dominance through his prime years. A better comparison might be Nolan Ryan, who tucked 105 victories under his belt through his age 28 season. But Ryan was another pitcher who pitched late into his career, hanging up his spikes at the age of 46. It's impossible to predict if Verlander will be pitching 20 years from now, let alone 10, but like Ryan, Verlander boasts no-hitter stuff, with each pitcher tossing multiple no-hitters in their career.

Roger Clemens had 134 wins in his career by the age of 28, but he also pitched late into his career, ending his career at age 45. And of course, there's the possibility that Clemens helped himself along by using steroids once he joined the Blue Jays.

One thing's clear -- if Verlander hopes to reach 300 victories, he's going to have to stay elite well into his 40s. If you do a simple projection of doubling his wins along with his years of service, Verlander will be sitting at 214 wins come age 35. He'd need at least five more seasons to reach 300, putting him into his 40s.

But can one even predict 214 wins in the next seven seasons? Fortunately, the argument about whether a pitcher's wins are a value state is largely dead. Most people these days understand that a win is not an acceptable way to judge pitchers. Baseball clubs moved on from wins quite a while ago, and most of the media has come around in recent seasons. You can't judge a pitcher on wins because it is so heavily dependent on the team. How is their defense -- can it prevent balls from dropping in or unearned runs from scoring at a clip enough to harm the pitcher? Is the bullpen good enough to hold leads? Does the manager have a quick hook? Is the offense capable of supporting the pitcher?

The fact that Verlander has 107 wins at this point in his career is rare, no matter the pitcher, because of all the variables that go into winning a game. Verlander has lucked out in pitching for a contender his entire career, and within that, having his team rack up the victories for Verlander. That's not easy to do. For comparison, let's look at a list of players since the new millennium that reached 100 or more wins by the age of 28, just like Verlander:

CC Sabathia, Carlos Zambrano, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Pedro Martinez, Andy Pettitte.

Other than Sabathia, none of these players are thought to have any shot at winning 300. The latter two, of course, are now out of baseball and thus have zero chance. The 90's are kinder to Verlander's chances. Those pitchers who won at least 100 games by age 28 in the 90s are: Mike Mussina, Ramon Martinez, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen and Clemens. Madduz and Glavine have won 300 along with Clemens. Glavine needed into their 40s to get win No. 300, while Maddux grabbed his at age 38... and he is a transcendent pitcher in baseball history. When you're talking about a starting pitcher with tons of miles on his arm pitching at an elite level into his 40s... it's simply too unpredictable to guess whether or not Verlander will get 300 -- or if he'll even still be playing.

If Verlander stays healthy, if he stays elite, if he lasts into his 40s and if he continues to pitch for a contender the majority of his career, the odds do seem good that Verlander will win 300. But that's a lot of ifs. Too many ifs, actually. Right now, let's bask in Verlander's historic season, the likes of which haven't been seen since the mid-1980s, and worry about Verlander's chances to win 300 in a decade.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 7:23 pm
 

Dodgers, Padres sign backups

By Evan Brunell

KotsayThe Dodgers and Padres have signed Matt Treanor and Mark Kotsay, respectively.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have signed outfielder Mark Kotsay to a one year, $1.25 million deal. Kotsay will likely back up all outfield positions as well as first base. Kotsay spent 2011 with the Brewers, hitting .270/.329/.373, sparking controversy in October when he started in right field during the NLCS.

TreanorThe Dodgers, meanwhile, are adding a backup catcher. The club announced Tuesday it has signed Matt Treanor. The LA Times reports it's for $850,000. Treanor will likely back up Tim Federowicz, a prospect obtained from Boston at the trade deadline. The team could also move forward with A.J. Ellis as a starter, although that's unlikely. L.A. could also bring in another catcher to challenge for playing time, but it looks as if the starting catcher for the Dodgers won't be settled until spring training.

Treanor hit .214/.338/.291 in 2011, mostly for the Royals. He was traded late in the season to Texas and was on the World Series roster, although he did not appear in a game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 5:39 am
 

It's unanimous: Verlander claims AL Cy Young

Verlander

By Evan Brunell


In a season for the ages, Justin Verlander took home the AL Cy Young Award on Tuesday, winning the award unanimously, just the fourth pitcher in the AL to do so.

It was a no-brainer decision for voters after Verlander racked up a 2.40 ERA, good enough to lead the American League. He did so in 251 innings, which led all of baseball. Verlander's accomplishments don't stop there -- he also led baseball in wins, racking up 24 against five losses, and also was tops in the game in strikeouts (250) and WHIP, sinking under 1.00 and finishing at .920.

The last pitcher to have a WHIP under 1.00 and strike out at least 250 batters was in 2004, when three pitchers accomplished the feat in Ben Sheets, Johan Santana and Randy Johnson. But if you add in at least 250 innings pitched, there have only been two pitchers since 1986 to accomplish that feat. Curt Schilling with the Diamondbacks in 2002 is the only other man left standing with Verlander.

Award Season
Brunell
Can Justin Verlander reach 300 wins in his career? Evan Brunell examines his case. Read>>
Related links
Once you factor in ERA, Verlander stands alone in how dominant he was. Schilling's 3.23 ERA was very good for the offensive climate of 2002, but even Schilling doesn't compare with Verlander in how dominant over and above the average pitcher Verlander was. Mike Scott in 1986 and Dwight Gooden in 1985 are the only pitchers since the 1970s to put together a total package of accomplishments like Verlander did. In fact, Verlander is now the first AL pitcher to win both Rookie of the Year and Cy Young in a career. The feat has been accomplished five times in the NL, but it is an AL first.

While Gooden didn't toss any no-hitters during his transcendent season, Scott did, blanking the Giants on Sept. 25. Verlander can match that feat, as he tossed his second career no-hitter on May 7, taking out the Blue Jays. Verlander walked just one and faced the minimum 27 batters. In his next start, he had a no-hitter until the sixth inning. In total, Verlander had 15 2/3 innings of consecutive no-hit ball. It wasn't the last time he would flirt with a no-hitter, taking one into the eighth inning on June 14 and July 31.

Verlander's victory gives the Tigers their first Cy Young since 1984, when closer Willie Hernandez took home the honor. Verlander's unanimous selection marks the 18th such time in baseball it has occurred. The first time it happened was with a fellow Tiger, with Denny McLain the obvious victor in 1968, two years after baseball decided to give the award to one pitcher in each league. The Cy Young had previously been awarded to one pitcher upon inception in 1956. The NL also made its first unanimous selection in 1968, handing the distinction to Bob Gibson.

With Verlander, there are six pitchers who can boast unanimous victories in the AL, with Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana all winning the award unanimously twice. McLain and Ron Guidry are the other AL hurlers with unanimous selections. Verlander will earn an additional $500,000 on top of his $12.75 million salary as a result of the victory.

The Angels' Jered Weaver (18-8, 2.41) finished second with 97 points, the only other pitcher to be named on each ballot. James Shields of the Rays had 66 points, finishing third. He is followed by CC Sabathia of the Yankees with 63 points, and Tigers closer Jose Valverde rounded out the top five with 28 points.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks, Royals interested in Oswalt

Oswalt

By Evan Brunell


Roy Oswalt appears to be a popular man.

Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, is expected to meet with the Royals to discuss the righty on Tuesday or Wednesday, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.

But Oswalt will have competition. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro says the Diamondbacks are interested in Oswalt. Add in the Nationals and Phillies, who displayed prior interest, and the market is heating up for Oswalt. It would come as no surprise if other teams were in the hunt or eventually entered it.

The 34-year-old made 23 starts this past season, checking in with a 3.69 ERA for the Phillies. He missed time due to back problems and has also considered retirement, so he won't be looking for a long-term deal. He'll have to compromise on whatever deal he gets, though. Teams aren't going to guarantee tens of millions of dollars to Oswalt, not after his back problem was a significant problem in 2011. In addition, Oswalt isn't the same pitcher he once was. He's no longer an ace and better fits in as the No. 2 or 3 starter on a staff. Any deal will likely be incentive-laden, giving Oswalt money based on his ability to stay on the field.

The Royals are aggressive this winter in looking for pitching, already trading for Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. But the team needs more, and Oswalt would be a solid veteran presence. But is he really interested in playing for the Royals, who aren't thought to be contenders in 2012? While the future is bright in K.C., it's still far enough in the future that Oswalt may prefer a team closer to contending. Of the other teams to display interest, the Diamondbacks more closely fit that profille -- but can 'Zona pony up the dollars to sign Oswalt?

While Oswalt's market is heating up, don't expect a resolution anytime soon. Oswalt's better served by waiting things out as its likely his market would only improve. Teams such as the Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees could jump in the fray at any moment, and would certainly look into Oswalt should they strike out on their top pitching targets.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Report: Padres look to trade Bartlett, Hudson

Bartlett, Hudson

By Evan Brunell


The Padres intend to trade either shortstop Jason Bartlett or second baseman Orlando Hudson, Fox Sports reports.

The budget-conscious Padres would like to slash payroll from the middle infield, as San Diego has a tight budget to work with. Both infielders are the only players with guaranteed contracts for the 2012 season. Bartlett will make $5.5 million in 2012, but hit just .245/.308/.307 for the Padres, his worst offensive showing in his career outside from an eight-game stint in 2004 as a rookie. The 32-year-old was once considered a good defensive shortstop but seems to be coasting by on reputation these days. There are many teams that need a shortstop, though, so the Padres may be able to find a fit elsewhere. The infielder also has a $5.5 million option for 2013, with a $1.5 million buyout.

Hudson is also on the block. He is signed for 2012 at the same salary of $5.5 million as Bartlett, but holds a club option for 2013 worth $8 million with a $2 million buyout. Hudson struggled with the stick last year as well, hitting .246/.329/.352 and missed part of the season with a thigh strain. It will be much more difficult for San Diego to find a home for Hudson, given his declining bat and signs that he may not be a gifted fielder anymore. He also plays a position of less demand than Bartlett.

As Fox Sports writes, if Bartlett is traded, Everth Cabrera will likely draw the assignment at short. If Hudson is dealt, options include Cabrera, Logan Forsythe and Andy Parrino. If both are somehow moved, which San Diego would probably prefer, look for the team to import at least one replacement. Cabrera burst on the scene as a 22-year-old back in 2009, hitting .255/.342/.361. However, he fell flat on his face in 2010 and spent much of 2011 in the minors. He showed encouraging improvement with the bat at Triple-A this past season, so it's no surprise the Pads are trying to clear room for him. Being able to play at the league-minimum salary is also a help.

Money is a problem beyond Bartlett and Hudson, though. Fox Sports also reports that the club isn't optimistic about retaining Heath Bell.

While the closer has long expressed an interest in returning to town and even once admitted he might accept arbitration to stay with the team, it appears that Bell's market is strong in free agency. The closer has been holding out for a three-year pact with San Diego, which the club so far is unwilling to do. The new labor agreement could complicate things as well, as draft-pick compensation is likely to be modified for Type A free agents. That could present a problem, especially if teams are no longer required to surrender a first-round pick to ink a Type A free agent, which Bell is. That would not boost Bell's market, which may already be beyond the Padres' reach.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Orioles bring back cartoon bird on caps

Orioles

By Evan Brunell


The Bird is back.

The Orioles are breaking with recent tradition and reintroducing the cartoon bird that has been beloved by fans despite last appearing in 1988, when it was a part of Baltimore's caps.

That's exactly where the cartoon bird will return, as it will become the logo on the club's home and road caps. It will also be part of an alternate orange jersey that was introduced, to be used for Saturday home games. The bird is a new design, but took elements from the 1970 and 1983 versions, replacing the ornithologically-correct bird the club has used for years. The bird will also be represented on batting helmets.

The road uniforms also underwent a small tweak, restyling the "Baltimore" script.

The bird is not the new primary logo of the team -- the "Orioles" script logo is unchanged, as is the familiar "O's" logo that will be on the alternate cap.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Photo provided by team.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Reds move Opening Day a day earlier

RedsBy Evan Brunell

A potential thorny issue in Cincinnati has been avoided, with baseball moving the Reds' Opening Day to Thursday, April 5.

The Reds and Marlins will officially open the season at Great American Ball Park at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday. Opening Day was originally scheduled for Friday April 6, but that conflicted with Good Friday which is a significant holiday in Cincinnati.

“We want to thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and the Reds and Marlins players for agreeing to move Opening Day to Thursday, April 5,” Reds president Bob Castellini said. “Opening Day is a long-standing tradition for this team, our fans and the city of Cincinnati and we are pleased that the parade and game will now be on Thursday.”
 
The Reds intend to hold their traditional parade prior to the game, and it will be a special one. This upcoming season is the first time that the Reds' Opening Day will be considered a ceremonial holiday in Cincinnati. However, this year's Opening Day is in name only, as it won't kick off the baseball season. The Mariners and Athletics will open the season earlier in the week in Tokyo, Japan.

In addition, the Marlins are slated to open their new ballpark on Wed., April 4 before flying to the Reds to kick off the series. League rules mandate that any team playing a single-game series must receive a day off the day after. It is unclear how this was resolved in order to move the Reds game from Friday to Thursday.

Cincinnati is a predominantly Catholic town with 479,000 Catholics in the 19-county Archdiocese, and schools are closed beginning at noon on Good Friday to observe the holiday, which includes fasting. That would preclude people from eating food at concession stands, as well as lend a somber tone to what should be a festive day of the Reds' home opener.

“The biggest thing is it’s a conflict of moods,” Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said back in September. “Opening Day is a very festive occasion. Good Friday is a key date in our salvation. And although it’s called ‘Good’ it’s not a celebratory occasion.

The Reds also had Opening Day scheduled for Good Friday in the 2011 season, but were able to move it to Thursday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com