Tag:Loek van Mil
Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 7:27 pm
 

Pepper: Dominoes falling after Wainwright injury



THE WAINWRIGHT EFFECT:
In what had previously been a rather quiet week in baseball, we learned Wednesday that star Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright might be forced to undergo what would be season-ending surgery (Update: He will have the surgery ). So, of course, the news sent shockwaves through the baseball world -- and I don't mean those sent by an alleged celebratory song that turned out to be, well, nothing .

First of all, his contact situation becomes murky. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes , Wainwright had a two-year option for $21 million for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that vested due to his top-five finish in Cy Young voting last season. If he ends a season on the disabled list due to an  arm or shoulder injury, however, the Cardinals may void the deal. If he does have to go through the surgery and rehab, Wainwright will be a 30-year-old battling back from Tommy John surgery at this time next. And keep in mind the Cardinals will be desperately finding ways to keep Albert Pujols come next offseason. Simply put: this injury could cost Wainwright a lot of money -- or at the very least cloud his future with the Cardinals.

Next up, my colleague C. Trent Rosecrans did an excellent roundup of possible Cardinals options to replace Wainwright, but one guy who may end up eventually being an option is Mark Buehrle of the White Sox. The veteran left-hander is in the final year of his four-year contract and could go on the block by the time the trade deadline comes around. Of course, many things would have to happen between now and then and it's a long way away from the time when any talk could be taken seriously, but Buehrle seemed to indicate (to MLB.com) he would waive his no-trade clause in the right situation -- though he'd rather stay in Chicago.

And finally, in the likely-washed-up category, Kevin Millwood is working out like he's expecting a job this season. "I am just kind of keeping going, staying in shape and getting my arm ready to go when something does happen," Millwood told the Baltimore Sun .

JUST HOLD THE GAMBLING: Mike Schmidt wants Jimmy Rollins to be more like ... Pete Rose. While Rollins might be part of a winning team, he's still underachieving, according to the Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman. "I just think Pete understood more what his role was. Jimmy kind of gets to being Jimmy. Jimmy needs to be more Pete Rose-like in his approach to the game, and more accountable for getting on base and understanding that offensively, he's about running and getting on base and getting hits and leading the lead in hitting," Schmidt told reporters. (Philadelphia Daily News )

BUT WHAT'S A ZONE RATING? Despite nearly every defensive metric available -- save for that good, old-fashioned eye test -- telling them otherwise, the Brewers seem to like the defensive prowess of Yuniesky Betancourt.

"I think appearances sometimes [work against him], how a guy plays," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel .

"He's more of a 'smooth' type of fielder, the manager went on. "He doesn't have the speed like you had with [former Brewers shortstop Alcides] Escobar and we had with [Angels shortstop Erick] Aybar. You don't see that flash where he's flying to the ball. He's moving OK; he's just a smooth runner. He's not as fast as those two I mentioned but he has good hands and a good arm. I think he makes the steady play. I don't consider him a defensive liability."

According to Fangraphs.com, including qualified players only, Betancourt rated as the third-worst shortstop in baseball last season defensively -- ahead of only Hanley Ramirez and Jason Bartlett. Maligned defenders like Derek Jeter and Starlin Castro rate out better. But hey, at least he has good hands -- always an important feature among guys who don't get to many grounders.

MOVE OVER RAUCH: The Blue Jays hurler stands at 6-foot-11 and is the tallest player in major league history, but that record appears to be toppling soon in favor of a 7-foot-1 pitcher for the Angels. Loek Van Mil appears a menacing presence on the hill, and that's before you factor in his ability to hit 99 on the radar gun. The 26 year old notes he wants to make the bigs on merit, not as a side show. (Yahoo! )

ALLOW MYSELF TO INTRODUCE ... MYSELF: Miguel Tejada will be portrayed by Royce Clayton in the upcoming movie, Moneyball . Clayton noted he worked hard to try and replicate Tejada's swing, but we won't see him using a Dominican accent. "I gave it a whirl, but [the producers] told me to lose it after a while," Clayton said. Considering the career .679 OPS (to Tejada's .801), there will be more than one difference. But, hey, at least we won't be forced to believe Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a major league prospect . (San Francisco Chronicle )

COLORADO CHALLENGE:
After a nine-game regression by a young, but really talented, team in 2010, Rockies manager Jim Tracy opened camp by challenging his team to get better. He used numbers. Like 833 (the number of days the team collectively spent on the DL last year) and 30 (the number of games the Rockies lost by one run). Seeing things like that makes you realize just how dangerous the still-young Rockies can be in 2011. The West race very much seems to be a two-teamer at this point. (MLB.com )

BYE BYE Rays? A St. Petersburg Times columnist discusses how either relocation or contraction never seems to stray far from the Tampa Bay Rays. He opines that by 2017, when debt payments to Tropicana Field are concluded, the Rays could be in trouble. On one hand, it's disappointing to hear talk like this for any team. On the other, it's even more disappointing that a team as exciting as the Rays -- who have won the AL East twice and American League once in the past three seasons -- can't draw any better. In 2010, the Rays drew 22,758 fans per home game, which is only 52 percent of the stadium's capacity. This was the worst among playoff teams. (ESPN.com )

A LASTING PLAN: After years of failing to live up to rather large hype, Lastings Milledge now has a "pretty good plan" on how to get his career on track as he joins the White Sox in camp. He's had his girlfriend cut off his long hair and is refocused. He won't reveal the ins and outs of his plan, but says the first step is making the team. Milledge was a first-round draft pick for the Mets out of high school in 2003 and arrived as a 21 year old in 2006, but he's only hit .269/.328/.394 in parts of five seasons for three different teams. Still, at age 25 he's far from cooked. Maybe he puts things together this time around. His talent is certainly still bouncing around in there somewhere. (Chicago Sun Times )

-- Matt Snyder

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb 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