Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:30 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
Long a punching bag for fans and media alike, the Kansas City Royals have become a darling in recent years due to their strong farm system. We keep hearing about how they'll be a World Series caliber team by 2014 and the first wave of strong talent hit the bigs in 2011 -- with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas leading the charge. There's more on the way, too. For the purposes of this exercise, though, the Royals get to add two All-Star veterans to the lineup who have long since departed. Oh, and they get back an aloof ace.
1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Johnny Damon, RF
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Carlos Beltran, CF
5. Billy Butler, DH
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Johnny Giavotella, 2B
9. Mike Aviles, SS
1. Zack Greinke
2. Luke Hochevar
3. Aaron Crow
4. Danny Duffy
5. Chad Durbin
Closer - J.P. Howell
Set up - Jeremy Affeldt, Greg Holland, Blake Wood, Tim Byrdak, Mike MacDougal
Long - Louis Coleman
Notable Bench Players
Matt Treanor, Kila Ka'aihue, Mark Ellis, David DeJesus, Mitch Maier, Jarrod Dyson
That really looks like a nice lineup. There's obviously some growing up to be done in the 6-7-8 spots, but that's a lot easier done when the top five spots are that strong. And remember, Wil Myers is on the way ...
With Beltran and Damon getting up into their high-30s, the outfield defense would lack range. Of course, DeJesus and Dyson are both available off the bench as late-inning defensive replacements, so the situation wouldn't be dire. There is no real closer, but that's a bit overrated anyway. And the starting rotation leaves something to be desired, for now, until Crow and Duffy prove their worth and some of the other prospects (like John Lamb and Mike Montgomery) start to arrive.
Comparison to real 2011
It's actually pretty similar, aside from a few huge names. These Royals have Beltran and Damon instead of Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, while Greinke has been thrown atop the rotation. Those are upgrades and, remember, the real-life Royals didn't get full seasons out of many of their young players. It's reasonable to put this squad above .500 and maybe even lingering around in the playoff chase into August.
Up Next: Atlanta Braves
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Tags: Aaron Crow, AL Central, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Blake Wood, Carlos Beltran, Chad Durbin, Danny Duffy, David DeJesus, Eric Hosmer, Greg Holland, Homegrown, J.P. Howell, Jarrod Dyson, Jeremy Affeldt, John Lamb, Johnny Damon, Johnny Giavotella, Kila Ka'aihue, Luke Hochevar, Mark Ellis, Matt Snyder, Matt Treanor, Mike Aviles, Mike MacDougal, Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas, Mitch Maier, Royals, Salvador Perez, Tim Byrdak, Wil Myers, Zack Greinke
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:03 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Matt Kemp is the big news in Los Angeles today, but the Dodgers may have made a smaller move as well. The team has agreed to sign second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year deal worth $8.75 million, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller confirms. Miller adds the Dodgers have a third-year option on Ellis.
Ellis, 34, hit .248/.288/.346 with seven home runs and 41 RBI with the Athletics and Rockies last season, hitting much better (shocker) once he arrived in Denver, hitting .274/.317/.392 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 70 games with the Rockies.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
Second base is hardly a marquee position -- there are some good players at the position, but at its core, it's a position of deficiencies. Second basemen generally aren't good enough defensively to play shortstop, or hit well enough to be a third baseman or outfielder. That's not to say there aren't some great players who play the position like Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley, but it's not a marquee position, and it's even less so in this free agent market.
1. Brandon Phillips: If the Reds were to decide against exercising Phillips' $12 million option, he'd certainly be in demand. But that's not happening. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has said he's planning on picking up Phillips' option, while Phillips prefers an extension. Phillips has said the Reds simply picking up the option on his contract would be a slap in the face -- but maybe one day I can be slapped in the face for $12 million. Phillips said the Reds won't get the "homeboy hookup" (otherwise known as the "hometown discount") in any extension talk. So while Phillips will be in a Reds uniform on opening day, the end of the season and beyond, that may be a question.
2. Jamey Carroll: Yep, Jamey Carroll is number two on this list -- which should tell you as much as you need to know about the remaining 11 names on this list. Carroll is a fine player, but nothing more than that. He hit .290/.359/.347 for the Dodgers this season and hasn't hit a home run since 2009. He did put up a .383 on-base percentage as a leadoff man, something that could make him much more attractive to potential suitors. Carroll could be a good second baseman (or shortstop) for somebody, but he's not exactly the type of player that's going to turn around the team or get a fanbase fired up.
3. Jerry Hairston Jr.: Hairston is one of the more versatile players in the game and also had a very good postseason, so good that someone may consider him an everyday player. Hairston played second, third, shortstop, left field and center field last season, but started each of the NLCS games at third base. He played 45 games for the Brewers and 75 for the Nationals in 2011, hitting .270/.344/.383 with five home runs overall.
4. Ramon Santiago: Santiago could play shortstop as well, increasing his value. This year was the first year he played mostly second base, starting 40 games at second and 22 at shortstop for the Tigers. Still, he doesn't exactly project as a first-division starter at either spot. He hit .260/.311/.384, not too far off his average in his 10 seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers and Mariners. He's most likely a utility infielder at this point in his career.
5. Mark Ellis: Ellis certainly earned brownie points for teams watching from afar when he gracefully stepped aside for the arrival of second baseman Jemile Weeks in Oakland and was then traded to Colorado. Ellis, a good defensive second baseman, struggled offensively in Oakland before the trade but hit quite a bit better in Colorado (imagine that). Ellis is likely to return to Colorado.
6. Aaron Hill: The Diamondbacks have options for the next two seasons on Hill, but there's close to zero chance the team will pay him $8 million for next season. Still, Arizona has expressed interest in bringing back Hill, whom the Diamondbacks got in a change of scenery trade with the Blue Jays. Hill hit .315/.386/.492 with two homers in 33 games for the Diamondbacks after hitting just .225/.270/.313 for the Blue Jays.
8. Jack Wilson: Wilson finished last season with the Braves, playing shortstop and third base. he played mostly second base for the Mariners to start the season, but that was because the team had Brendan Ryan at short. Wilson, who has never had much of a bat, may be entering the stage of his career where he can serve as a late-inning defensive replacement at any of the infield positions.
9. Carlos Guillen: Let's just say Guillen will take a pay cut in 2012 after his four-year, $48 million contract with the Tigers has run out. In those four seasons, the Tigers got a .266/.345/421 hitter with 30 home runs and 12 stolen bases. At 35 in 2011, Guillen hit .232/.265/.368, playing second base and first base in just 28 games.
10. Kelly Johnson: Johnson was the other half of the Blue Jays-Diamondbacks underachiever swap. And like Hill, he responded well in his new home, hitting .270/.364/.417 in 33 games in Toronto, while hitting .209/.287/.412 with 18 homers in 114 games with Arizona. The Blue Jays are likely to offer Johnson arbitration, so he can take it or hit the free agent market. He's likely on the borderline between Type A and Type B, if a Type A, he'd almost be forced to take arbitration because his value on the free agent market would take a huge hit if a team had to give up a draft pick. But the class of second basemen is so weak, he may be able to go anyway. It's an interesting situation.
11. Nick Punto: Punto hit .27 8/.388/.421 in a bounce-back year for the Cardinals, but was limited to just 166 plate appearances, so take that with a grain of salt. Punto's no longer an everyday player (if he ever really was), but is instead a utility player and there's always a place for that. He does add defensive value at most spots he plays, so there will be some demand.
13. Jose Lopez: The Marlins out righted Lopez to the minors in July, before calling him back up in August. With the Rockies and Marlins in 2011, he hit a combined .216/.245/.373.He did hit .273/.296/.597 with six home runs in 32 games (16 starts) after being called back up. He played third, second and first base. An All-Star in 2006 with the Mariners, Lopez will likely sign a minor-league contract to get into camp with someone, but he's no team's idea of an answer to any question other than who is on the travel roster for a split squad game.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Hill, Aaron Miles, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon Phillips, Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carlos Guillen, Craig Counsell, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, free agency, free agent tracker, Jack Wilson, Jamey Carroll, Jerry Hairston Jr., Jose Lopez, Kelly Johnson, Mariners, Mark Ellis, Mets, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Nationals, Nick Punto, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Ramon Santiago, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Twins, White Sox
Posted on: October 3, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 1:19 pm
By Evan Brunell
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...
Team name: Colorado Rockies
Record: 73-89, 4th place, 21 games back
Manager: Jim Tracy
Best hitter: Troy Tulowitzki -- .302/.372/.544 with 30 HR, 105 RBI
Best pitcher: Jhoulys Chacin -- 11-14, 31 GS, 194 IP, 3.62 ERA, 150 K, 87 BB
The Rockies season didn't go as intended. Instead of competing for the division title, the club barely avoided the cellar and saw their rotation ripped up. Jorge De La Rosa dealt the big blow, suffering an injury that required Tommy John surgery while Ubaldo Jimenez found himself packed off to Cleveland. With a disappointing season in the books, Colorado is ready to plunge ahead and change their fortunes next season.
2011 SEASON RECAP
The Rockies got the season off to a nice start, finishing April with a 17-8 record, enough to pace the division by four games. The wheels fell off in May, though, with two separate four-game losing streaks in the month. There were also two separate instances of a three-game losing streak, including one to end the month at 8-21, slipping out to 4 1/2 back. The first game of a double-header on May 24 was an especially big blow, with De La Rosa exiting the game after 2 1/3 innings and later undergoing Tommy John surgery. The left-hander had signed a two-year, $21.25 million deal in the offseason.
The rest of the season basically played out the string, as the team hovered around .500 the next three months, dealing Ubaldo Jimenez at the trade deadline. September saw a collapse, suffering a nine-game losing streak that perfectly capped the year for Colorado. The silver lining is that the team will get a high draft pick in next year's draft and restocked its pitching depth, but the year was still a big letdown.
Despite nearly finishing in the cellar, the Rockies are poised to contend. The offense isn't an issue, anchored by Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Even the pitching figures to rebound now that the club will get a full year of Chacin and a projected second-half return of De La Rosa. The rest of the rotation is a question mark, although the club will look for Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, part of the return in the Jimenez trade, to fill out the rotation. If Juan Nicasio can return from breaking his neck to round out a solid front five, the bullpen will be able to end games.
Aaron Cook, SP (mutual option that will be declined by the team)
Jason Giambi, 1B (mutual option)
Mark Ellis, 2B
Kevin Millwood, SP
J.C. Romero, RP
Posted on: July 2, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: July 2, 2011 1:46 am
By Matt Snyder
Mark Ellis, Rockies. Well, if one day is a harbinger of things to come, the Rockies' acquisition of Ellis via trade was the correct move. Ellis had played all 1,056 games of his major-league career in an Oakland uniform before Friday night. The Rockies needed some offensive punch and didn't have much flexibility in terms of money or prospects they wanted to deal, so they took a shot on Ellis -- who just lost his starting job for the A's to Jemile Weeks. All Ellis did was go 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and three RBI. Decent debut, eh? Obviously, Ellis isn't going to immediately transform into a beast, but he's in a cushy lineup spot -- behind Carlos Gonzalez and protected by Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies went on to win 9-0 over the Royals, so while it was likely pretty weird to play for a different team, Ellis had to have had a fun night in his new uniform.
Alexi Ogando, Rangers. Ogando, the Rangers and all Rangers fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Ogando started the season 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA, but most advanced metrics showed he was fortunate in terms of balls in play and several other measures. He had also not started more than seven games since 2007 ... in the Dominican Summer League. So when Ogando went 0-3 with a 9.31 ERA in his next three starts, the worries that he was in a permanent tailspin started to surface. Friday night's outing should, at least temporarily, alleviate those concerns. Ogando took a perfect game into the fifth and a shutout into the seventh against the Marlins. He finished with 6 2/3 innings, eight strikeouts, five hits, two earned runs and two walks. He picked up his eighth win of the season. Though Ogando faltered a bit in the seventh, this outing has to be very encouraging.
Justin Masterson, Indians. It's not the best measure of a pitcher -- considering run support and defense play such a huge factor -- but Masterson hadn't won a game since April 26. He started the season 5-0 and entered Friday night 5-6, despite a 2.08 ERA in his previous four starts. And unfortunately lots of pitchers have been trained to believe the only thing that matters are the wins and losses (which I would agree with if this was an individual sport, but I digress), so good for Masterson on picking up the win Friday. He went eight strong innings, allowing only four hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 2.85 and is having quite the season. Meanwhile, the Indians moved back into first place in the AL Central.
Mike Quade, Cubs. Randy Wells came into Friday with a 6.25 ERA and 1.64 WHIP on the season. He gave up two runs in the top of the first inning to the White Sox. After that, he settled in and pitched very well for the next five innings. Still, Quade had Kerry Wood fresh off the DL, along with Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol at the back-end of his bullpen. It's actually the only true strength the Cubs have. It was fine to run Wells out there for the seventh inning, but once he allowed a single and game-tying home run, it was probably enough to go to the 'pen. Nah, Quade let him stay in. When Wells gave up a single to Rios, Quade let him stay. A ground out from Gordon Beckham advanced the go-ahead run to second base and a walk to Adam Dunn meant Wells had allowed four of five guys he faced to reach base in the seventh. Keep in mind, Dunn has one hit in about a billion at-bats against left-handers this season and Marshall is left-handed. Plus, Juan Pierre was on deck and is also a lefty. Nah, Quade stuck with Wells. Pierre tripled in two and the game was over. To Quade's credit, he took the blame after the game (Paul Sullivan via Twitter), but this shouldn't be happening. I realize the bullpen threw 12 innings the day before, but the three-man back-end was fine to get the job done.
Frank Francisco, Blue Jays. He's not doing much to endear himself to Blue Jays' fans, is he? Francisco entered the game Friday afternoon with a one-run lead. The Jays had taken the lead with a huge Jose Bautista two-run shot in the seventh. And it was Canada Day. Francisco went out and coughed up the game nearly as efficiently as he could have. He walked Placido Polanco and then gave up a double to Chase Utley and a single to Ryan Howard -- which plated two runs and put the Phillies on top. Francisco now has nine saves but four blown saves and an ERA of 5.01.
Padres offense. Before we get into the Padres here, let's give Jason Vargas some credit. The Mariners' starter has now thrown two shutouts in his past three outings. That's outstanding, though the second one comes with a bit of an asterisk. You see, the Padres now have 13 shutout losses. In 83 games. So, basically, 16 percent of the time the Padres play a game, they don't score a run. According to Stats, Inc., this is the most shutout losses for a team prior to the All-Star break since 2004, when the Expos were shutout 13 times. And we still have more than a week of games left. In the Padres' nine games before the break, all nine are in pitcher's parks (Safeco Field, AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium). They'll see Michael Pineda, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain among other solid starters. Simply put: The smart money is on the Padres making dubious history before July 11.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 9:45 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Colorado has been searching for a second baseman since the offseason when the team tried to get Michael Young from the Rangers. Instead, they've gone with a mixture of Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Jose Lopez, Alfredo Amezaga and Eric Young Jr. Rockies second basemen have hit .236/.291/.319 through 80 games this season.
Ellis came off the disabled list last week only to see the emergence of rookie Jemile Weeks, who had gone from the team's second baseman of the future to its second baseman of the present in the time Ellis' 15 days on the DL for a strained right hamstring were used up.
The $1 million sent from Oakland will be used to cover some of what remains of Ellis' $6 million salary for this season. He is a free agent after this season. Ellis had a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
Billings, 25, has appeared in one game this season, allowing five hits and a run in two innings. He was 6-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games and 50 1/3 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
BASEBALL TODAY: Just why did Jim Riggleman ditch his job? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss Riggleman, Ubaldo Jimenez and more. Check it out.
Oswalt will not only likely miss his next start, he could also be done. He's already hinted at retirement and with a back injury, it may not be worth it for Oswalt to come back.
After Thursday's outing, Oswalt sounded anything but confident in his return. David Hale of the News Journal has a full transcript of Oswalt's postgame comments, and they don't sound like the comments of someone who is confident it'll be an easy road back.
Heres' the question and answer that says it all to me:
That sounds like someone who is content with walking away if he gets bad news soon.
We may know more Monday after his scheduled MRI.
HOT SEAT: Edwin Rodriguez didn't last a full calendar year as the Marlins manager and the Cubs' Mike Quade could follow that lead. Quade's on the hot seat (even if general manager Jim Hendry's seat should be hotter). [Chicago Tribune]
LI'L' GOOSE: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle compared closer Joel Hanrahan to Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, and after stifling a laugh, John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times takes a look at the comparison and sees some parallels.
SCOUTING DARVISH: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was scheduled to see Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish's start on Friday. Darvish may be the top free-agent pitcher this season if he comes to the United States, as expected. The Braves and Twins reportedly had scouts at his last start, when he picked up just his second loss of the season. It was one of his worst starts of the season and he still gave up just one earned run, allowing nine hits and striking out 10 in eight innings. [YakyuBaka.com]
A'S OPEN TO DEAL: The sharks are circling in Oakland, as scouts have been checking out outfielder Josh Willingham, infielder Mark Ellis and left-handed relievers Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. [San Francisco Chronicle]
NICE RIDE: The Toledo Mud Hens players are going to miss Brandon Inge, who was activated by the Tigers on Thursday. During his rehab trip with Detroit's Triple-A team, Inge sprung for a limo for several players to take them from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, skipping the planned bus ride. [Detroit News]
DEJA VU: A St. Louis ace 1-7 through June? (Well, now 2-7 after Thursday night's 2-7) It's been done before. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch compares Chris Carpenter's 1-7 start to that of John Tudor's 26 years ago.
CABRERA'S CASE POSTPONED: The hearing for Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's DUI arrest has been postponed again and rescheduled for July 12. That's the day of the All-Star Game. Cabrera, however, isn't required to be present for this hearing, though, so he can still go to the All-Star Game. [Detroit News]
NO DECISION: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he'd prefer not to negotiate during the season (and that doesn't make Jim Riggleman happy), but said it's not a rule. Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm has said he'd like to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. [MLB.com]
BUCCO FEVER: If you haven't noticed, the Pirates (yes, the team in Pittsburgh) are in a pennant race. Sure, it's not even July yet, but we're talking the Pirates. The folks in Pittsburgh are beginning to take notice. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
LAWRIE DELAYED: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was all but set to be called up at the beginning of the month, but before he could get the call, he was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Now he's having trouble gripping the bat and may not be ready until August. [CBCSports.ca]
FIGGINS DILEMMA: If you're following the Mariners, there's plenty of positives around the team -- including a record just a game under .500. But there's one big concern, Chone Figgins. The question for the Mariners is what to do with Figgins, who has two years and $17 million left on his contract. [Seattle Times]
RETURN OF THE SPITTER: Here's an interesting theory (that I'm pretty sure I don't buy, but still interesting to think about) from Mat Kovach of the Hardball Times -- is the rise of pitching because of the return of the spitball?For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon Inge, Braves, Brett Gardner, Brett Lawrie, Brian Fuentes, Cardinals, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter, Clint Hurdle, Craig Breslow, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Goose Gossage, Japan, Jim Riggleman, Joel Hanrahan, John Tudor, Jon Daniels, Jonathan Broxton, Josh Collmenter, Josh Willingham, Mariners, Mark Ellis, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Quade, Nationals, Neal Huntington, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Paul Maholm, Phillies, Pirates, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies, Roy Oswalt, Tigers, Tigers, Twins, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yankees, Yu Darvish
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:18 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:31 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"That's just not going to happen," Cashman told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.
"We have an everyday shortstop in Derek Jeter," he added. "And I think we have an everyday shortstop that would be playing for a lot of clubs in Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees don't have a need now or in the future for a shortstop.
"But we do need a setup man."
Like Rafael Soriano, another player Cashman said the team didn't have any interest in signing?
SPEAKING OF: I understand baseball memorabilia, I really do. I mean, I own a game-worn Dick Pole jersey. But a dirt keychain? After Jeter's 3,000th hit, five gallons of dirt will be dug up from the batter's box and shortstop patch and sold off in various forms. The "DJ 3K" merchandise line will include not just dirt (which will be infused into key chains, plastic disks paired with photos and in bats among other items), but also the usual T-shirts, hats, jerseys, bobbleheads, patches, balls and even necklaces. [New York Times]
"He made it very easy on me," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Jane Lee of MLB.com. "You would, to an extent, expect that, but to the extent and the level he went, for me, was off the charts. The first thing I said to him was, 'OK, the second-base situation,' and he said, 'That's an easy one, you gotta play him.'"
Ellis is known as one of the good guys of the game, and this is another piece of evidence in that case. Ellis will play first and third for the A's, but the team's longest-tenured player won't be penciled in every day as he has been.
The 34-year-old Ellis is hitting just .210/.244/.286 in 60 games. Weeks has made the most of his opportunity when Ellis went not he DL, hitting .321/.357/.509 in the first 14 games of his big-league career.
Ellis has pride, but he understands that Weeks is a talent. In the end, that's the biggest thing -- players recognize talent. If his replacement was just someone hot, Ellis would unlikely step aside so easily, but Weeks is someone who can help the team in the long term. Ellis knows it. It can't be easy to put the ego aside like that, but he did. Hats off to Ellis.
As a side note, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle cites an "industry insider" as saying there's a "very good chance" Ellis will be traded across the San Francisco Bay to the Giants. Ellis is a free agent after the season, and with Weeks on board, it's unlikely he'll be back in Oakland next season.
PHANATIC HURT: Tom Burgoyne, the man inside the green Phillie Phanatic costume, was released from a Pennsylvania hospital Wednesday night after being hit in the head by a batted ball during a minor-league appearance at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. [Allentown Morning Call]
WELCOME BACK: The surging Twins will add DH Jim Thome and former closer Joe Nathan on Friday. Thome had five at-bats Wednesday in a simulated game at the team's complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Nathan struck out three Wednesday and allowed an unearned run, a walk and a hit in one inning for Triple-A Rochester. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
EL TIANTE JR.: Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto added a little tweak to his delivery for Wednesday's start against the Yankees, turning his back to the hitter more than he has in the past. It worked, as he held the Yankees to two hits and one run in seven innings.
"I've been doing it, but I did it a little more tonight," Cueto told reporters, including the Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen. "I'm trying to make it tough to see the baseball, so I'm hiding it real good now."
How good? Cueto improved to 5-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.63 this season. Batters are hitting just .193/.261/.297 against Cueto this season.
PEAVY, PIERZYNSKI OK: White Sox starter Jake Peavy and catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a heated argument that was caught on live TV in the dugout, and the two headed into the tunnel to escape the cameras. Afterward, both joked about the incident and said they were OK. [MLB.com]
ROX SEEK ARMS: Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said the team -- 3 1/2 games out of first in the NL West -- will look for pitching to help fill the void left by the loss of Jorge De La Rosa. Good luck finding someone like that. [MLB.com]
END OF THE LINE?: Veteran right-hander John Maine left the Rockies' Triple-A team after a bad start Monday and will use the time to decide whether he will retire or continue his comeback from shoulder surgery last season. The 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 11 starts this season. [InsidetheRockies.com]
GLOVE STORY: Last week Yankees starter Brian Gordon became the first Major League player to use a non-leather glove in a game. Gordon uses a synthetic glove handmade by a guy in Cooperstown, N.Y. [MLB.com]
THREE TRUE OUTCOMES: You hear that phrase pretty often, especially talking about Adam Dunn, as a player who seems to either hit a home run, strike out or walk in every plate appearance. Thanks to the beauty of computers, the Baseball-Reference.com blog has the 25 players (ranked by plate appearances) whose total homers plus walks plus strikeouts were at least 60 percent of their career plate appearances. Dunn is on the list, as are Thome, Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard and Rob Deer.
MLB EXPANSION?: No, not of teams -- of rosters. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN looks at both sides of the proposition. While Crasnick writes mostly about an extra position player, I can't imagine Tony La Russa not wanting another reliever in his bullpen just so he could make another pitching change in the sixth inning.
YANKEE STRIPPER, PART 2: The other man in a vintage photo of Joe DiMaggio has been identified, so we can put that to rest. Rugger Ardizoia said the picture was taken in spring training of 1941 when he was a minor leaguer with the Yankees and his fellow San Francisco native, DiMaggio, "took care" of him. [San Francisco Chronicle]
EXPOS BOOK: Jonah Keri, the author of the excellent book about the Tampa Bay Rays, The Extra 2%, will next tackle The Definitive History of the Montreal Expos. The book won't drop until 2014 -- the 10-year anniversary of the Expos' move -- but that doesn't mean it can't go on my Amazon wish list now. Or, well, as soon as Amazon has it listed. [JonahKeri.com]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Bob Melvin, Brian Gordon, Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, Dan O'Dowd, Derek Jeter, Dick Pole, Eduardo Nunez, Expos, Giants, Jake Peavy, Jemile Weeks, Jim Thome, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Nathan, John Maine, Johnny Cueto, Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Reyes, Mark Ellis, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Phillies, Rafael Soriano, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Tim Linecum, Twins, White Sox, Yankees