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Tag:Giants
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Bengie Molina officially retires with a party

By Matt Snyder

What, you didn't know that Bengie Molina wasn't retired yet? Hard to blame anyone who didn't, because he did not play at all in 2011. He just had never offically announced his retirement. Saturday night (via CSNBayArea.com), in the form of a retirement party with former Giants teammates, it happened. So he's now off the free agency market.

Molina, 37, retires with a career line of .274/.307/.411 with 144 home runs and 711 RBI in 1,362 regular-season games. He has two World Series rings (he got a ring from the 2010 Giants, even though he was traded July 1 of that season), just like his two brothers, Yadier and Jose. Bengie Molina played for the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Rangers. He won the AL Gold Glove in 2002 and 2003, when he was the Angels' starting catcher.

Up next for Molina? Take it away, CSNBayArea.com:
Next up for Molina is some traveling, fishing and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters. He wants to take a trip to see the Olympics in London. Then, in a year or two, he plans to look for a coaching position where he can make an impact. His late father, Benjamin, was deeply invested in youth baseball in Puerto Rico until the day he died of a heart attack in 2008. He was crossing the street with boxes of baseballs in his hands when he collapsed.

“I want to dedicate myself to do what my dad did: teaching kids how to play, and also how to be a better person and how to love their families,” Bengie said. “I’m going to try to pass it on.”

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:38 pm
 

Report: Edgar Renteria leaning toward retirement

Edgar Renteria

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former World Series MVP Edgar Renteria is leaning toward retirement, although his agent, Barry Meister told FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that the 35-year-old shortstop probably won't file official retirement papers anytime soon, leaving the door open for a return.

Renteria played for the Reds last season, but Cincinnati instead chose to go with rookie Zach Cozart as its starter at shortstop, along with backup Paul Janish. Renteria received two offers of minor-league contracts from National League teams, but he chose not go that route.

"It had nothing to do with the team," Meister told Rosenthal. "It just had to do with the feeling that this might be the right time."

Renteria won two Gold Gloves and was a five-time All-Star, as well as two World Series titles and another appearance. Although, the highlight of his career came early, when at 20 he hit the game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series with the Marlins. He then won the World Series MVP with the Giants in 2010. He also appeared in the 2004 World Series with the Cardinals.

In an interesting twist, he could be hanging up his glove in the same offseason season that countryman and fellow Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera retired. Cabrera, 37, played for the Giants and Indians last season -- and coincidentally, was the shortstop for the Reds in 2010. He was also the shortstop for the Red Sox when Boston beat Renteria's Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

What makes it really interesting is that the two, who are probably the greatest players to ever hail from Columbia, had a rivalry and didn't like each other. Here's a story from 2008 written by Jorge Arangure in ESPN The Magazine that examines and explains the feud. It's a fascinating read, but the crux is this -- Renteria felt Cabrera was jealous of him and then there's a money aspect to the entire deal.

In Cincinnati, I've dealt with both and found it odd. Teammates liked -- and even loved -- both players, they were well-respected and were also good with the media. Renteria, whom I was around less, seemed more quiet, while Cabrera is outgoing, loud and hilarious.

Renteria and his brother founded the Columbian Professional Baseball League and he is seen as a hero in Columbia, while last season Cabrera became a U.S. citizen.

If Renteria retires, he'll end his career with a .286/.343/.398 slash line, 140 home runs and 2,327 hits to go along with five All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He also played on seven playoff teams with four different franchises. Cabrera finished his career with a .272/.317/.390 slash line, 123 home runs and 2,055 hits. He never made an All-Star team, but did win two Gold Gloves and played on six playoff teams. From 2004-2010, he appeared in the playoffs in all but one of those seven seasons, making six playoff appearances with five different teams.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:04 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 10:12 pm
 

MLB, Showtime believe 'The Franchise' has legs

Ozzie GuillenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Over the next couple of weeks, Major League Baseball and Showtime will be planning out the rest of their shoots over the course of the season for this season of The Franchise, which will follow the Miami Marlins' season. But by the time the regular season begins in April, Chris Tully, MLB senior vice president  for broadcasting, said they'll already be looking for the 2013 subject.

"We think this concept has legs," Tully said on Tuesday. "I think Showtime has as much passion for the project as we do. The challenge was getting it launched, but once we were able to get over that hurdle, the reception has been excellent."

After following the Giants in season one, Tully said several teams approached MLB about opening their doors for the cameras in 2012. But as many teams as expressed interest, there was one team that just stood out and made the decision easy -- the new-look Marlins.

"I think we're foturnate with the players already on hand and the new players they brought in. With Ozzie (Guillen), the new stadium, the new branding, the new uniforms. We're catching them at the most opportune time."

Miami Marlins
It seems so. There will be no shortage of storylines for this season of The Franchise -- the show, Tully said, will no doubt touch on Guillen, Hanley Ramirez's move to third base to accommodate newcomer Jose Reyes, the addition of Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, as well as the opening of a new stadium. Tully confirmed a Miami Herald report that the filming has already begun, including the Marlins' meeting with Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes last week. The cameras will certainly be rolling when the Marlins' pitchers and catchers report for spring training this weekend.

But it's the stories that have yet to emerge that are the most exciting, Tully said. One of his favorite storylines in the Giants season was the unlikely emergence of Ryan Vogelsong, who hadn't pitched in the big leagues since 2006 and then made the All-Star team in 2011.

"One of the key things is giving access to viewers that they don't usually get," Tully said. "How do they interact with each other, with management and how they interact with their family and friends."

Last season the series started with a "sneak peak" in April and then started in July for a run of nine total episodes. This season is expected to be nine episodes, but it's unlikely they'll have a preview episode, starting the full nine half-hour episodes shortly after the All-Star break and running through September.

Most exciting, though, may be that we'll get the full, uncensored Guillen, who is known to like an expletive or two. Those were bleeped when he was featured as part of The Franchise's precursor The Club, on MLB Network.

"We didn't use bleeps last year," Tully said. "I don't think language is a focus or a concern."

It's just going to be a bonus.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:38 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Spring position battles: National League West



By Matt Snyder


We are finally just a few short weeks away from spring training beginning, so let's continue looking at some positional battles that will unfold through February and March. Monday, we looked at the AL West and now it's time to look at the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
None: None yet.

I understand this probably comes off as a bit lame, but look at the D-Backs depth chart and tell me where there are any legitimate battles. From the starting lineup to the rotation to the bullpen, it would appear the defending NL West champs have very few question marks heading into the 2012 season. I would keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (maybe pushing Josh Collmenter to the long relief role at some point in June or July?), but it's very doubtful he fits in the rotation out of spring. He got knocked around (7.56 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) in four Double-A starts last season. So I've got nothing here. They are already set.

San Francisco Giants
First Base: Aubrey Huff vs. Brandon Belt

Is it time to pass the torch yet? The Giants had no patience with Belt last season, as the 23-year-old prospect was shipped back to the minors in April after just 60 plate appearances. He came back to stay in the middle of July, hitting .231/.296/.469 the rest of the way, but that was only in 142 plate appearances. And he did show good power, hitting eight homers in that stretch. In 111 career Triple-A games, Belt has a .441 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Meanwhile, Huff is 35 and coming off a season where he hit .246/.306/.370 with just 12 homers in 579 plate appearances. With the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, it's unlikely the Giants shove Belt back in the outfield initially, so they must make a decision here. Do they leave Belt in Triple-A again, where he's proven he's a stud, have him ride pine in the bigs, or just move on past Huff and let Belt have the job?

Shorstop: Ryan Theriot vs. Brandon Crawford vs. Mike Fontenot

The 25-year-old Crawford is easily the best defender of this group, but at some point the Giants will need some offense. Crawford is a career .234/.291/.327 hitter in Triple-A. In 220 big-league plate appearances, Crawford hit .204/.288/.296 last season, so he's a complete offensive liability. Ryan Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP last year, and he also has no power. He does, however, have a career .282 average and .344 OBP. Fontenot hit only .227/.304/.377 last season, but he certainly has the most power of the trio here. Basically, there isn't really a good choice, but there's still one to be made. Of note: Fontenot and Crawford hit left handed, so maybe Theriot ends up platooning with one of them.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Left Field: Jerry Sands vs. Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Rivera

Did Sands' month of September give the Dodgers confidence he's ready to take over in left right away? It's possible. After hitting pretty poorly in his stint earlier in the season, Sands hit .342/.415/.493 with two homers, nine RBI and five doubles in 83 plate appearances in the last month. He's only 24, but he's also hit for great power in Triple-A (29 home runs in 418 plate appearances in Albuquerque last year). This one is all about him, with Gwynn being the backup option and Rivera being the desperation option.

Closer: Javy Guerra vs. Kenley Jansen

Guerra is the incumbent and successfully converted 21 of 23 save chances last season. He's only 26 and posted a 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in his 46 2/3 innings last season, too. So he's the obvious closer, right? I'm not so sure. The 6-foot-5 Jansen is only 24 and has elite closer written all over him. He had a rough start, but from June on, Jansen posted a 0.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with four saves, seven holds and zero blown saves. His stuff is nasty, as he struck out 96 hitters in 53 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like the sky is the limit, so would the Dodgers really leave him in the eighth inning due to Guerra's 2011 performance?

Colorado Rockies
No. 3-5 starting pitchers: Alex White vs. Drew Pomeranz vs. Juan Nicasio vs. Guillermo Moscoso vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Josh Outman vs. Jamie Moyer

After stockpiling pitchers the entire offseason, it wasn't too surprising to see the Rockies trade away both Kevin Slowey and Jason Hammel. Of course, they got back Jeremy Guthrie and still have an absurd logjam behind Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. And Jorge De La Rosa will be back at some point later in the season (he had Tommy John surgery last June). White and Pomeranz are both young and inexperienced enough to justify more time in Triple-A, but they probably have the best stuff of anyone on the list. Chatwood got plenty of MLB experience last season, but he's still only 22 and his numbers weren't good. It's hard not to root for Nicasio, as he's coming back from a broken neck. He made some good starts for Colorado last summer, too. Outman's never really shown more than mediocrity and Moyer is 49. I very much like Moscoso's chances,  for one, as he's 28 and had a 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season for Oakland. The ballpark difference in home games will be bad, but the NL West has fewer fearful hitters than the AL West and some spacious parks. So I'll officially predict Moscoso gets in, but beyond him, it's a complete toss up.

San Diego Padres
Catcher: Nick Hundley vs. John Baker vs. Yasmani Grandal

Hundley has had parts of four seasons to prove himself. Last season, he did hit well, with a .288/.347/.477 line, but injuries limited him to just 82 games. His career high, due to many different circumstances, is 85. The 31-year-old Baker has had the past couple seasons ruined due to an arm injury (Tommy John surgery and rehab took out nearly all of last season), but back in 2008-09 he hit .281/.364/.423 for the Marlins. The two could actually platoon, because Baker hits lefty while Hundley hits righty. Grandal, though, has loads of talent. He was the Reds' first rounder in 2010, is a switch hitter and has a career minor-league line of .303/.401/.488. He's only played four games in Triple-A, though, so he'd probably have to go nuts with his bat in the spring to get a shot out of the gate. The smart money is on the Padres going with Hundley as the primary starter, Baker as a backup who sees a good amount of playing time and Grandal spending most of the season in Triple-A. Maybe even a platoon with Hundley and Baker. Still, there's enough here for a potentially good three-way battle this spring. And you never know on Grandal. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A in 2011 and his experience before that was just eight Rookie League games in 2010. Maybe he's one of those guys that doesn't need much minor-league seasoning.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 9:33 pm
 

Giants won't bid on Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


One team that won't win the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes is the Giants, because, like Lotto, you gotta be in it to win.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean said at the team's FanFest on Saturday (via the San Francisco Chronicle) that his team would not bid on the Cuban outfielder.

"The price tag is probably beyond what his talent is," Sabean said.

The Cubs, Marlins and White Sox are considered favorites for the 26-year-old, with the Orioles and Tigers also seen as possible landing spots.

On Thursday, Marlins president David Samson told MLB.com that his team is "aggressively negotiating" a contract with Cespedes.

At this point it seems Cespedes will likely land a deal larger than Aroldis Chapman's six-year, $30.25 million deal signed in 2010. Cespedes could command $40 million or more.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:55 pm
 

Buster Posey expects to be ready for opening day

Buster PoseyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

In what is likely to many "state of Buster" updates until the regular season begins, Giants catcher Buster Posey said Friday that he expects to be ready for opening day.

"I've done some stuff I didn't think I'd be doing so soon," Posey said at the Giants' offseason media availability on Friday (via MLB.com's Lyle Spencer). "I started taking batting practice on the field about three weeks before I thought I would. Timing is a huge part of hitting. I'm optimistic it'll be pretty smooth."

Posey did say he still feels aches in his surgically repaired left ankle, but has been assured that's normal.

The Giants are expected to use Posey at first base some during the season in an attempt to keep his bat in the lineup while minimizing the injury and fatigue risks that come with catching. That said, Posey noted he's having no trouble crouching behind the plate as he works in the offseason.

"It'll be questions and answers for a while," Posey told Spencer. "I can answer questions by being out there.

"I'm anxious. There are going to be a few extra things to do in spring training, but I'm happy where I am and I'm looking forward to a healthy season."

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:53 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:13 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part III: Pitchers



By Matt Snyder


As we conclude the short series on overpaid players, we'll take a look at the man on the hill: The pitcher.

The interesting thing I found about pitchers is that not too many "long-term" contracts stood out like a sore thumb as being bad in terms of what is left on the current deal. A lot of the honorable mention types are for just one year, maybe two. This, I believe, illustrates the caution the overwhelming majority of teams exercise when coughing up long-term deals for pitchers.

That doesn't mean there are no guys on the list, however. We have a couple really good fits.

As a reminder, we're only talking about the contracts from now until the conclusion of the deal. Any money already banked doesn't count in this exercise.

Right-handed starters

Worst: John Lackey
Remaining contract: 3 years, $47.85 million

Ignore that Lackey is injured now and will miss all of the 2012 season. In fact, that actually helps the Red Sox here if last season was any indication. Lackey was brutal in '11, putting together a 6.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP while leading the majors in earned runs and wild pitches. He allowed a whopping 203 hits in his 160 innings pitched and posted a negative WAR (Wins Above Replacement player). And when he's healthy again, he'll be 34.

Honorable Mention

A.J. Burnett, Yankees: He helped the Yankees win the World Series title in 2009, but was he really integral? He was bad in the ALCS and was terrible in one of his World Series starts after leading the league in walks and wild pitches during the regular season. Since then, Burnett is 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's now the Yankees' fifth starter and will make $33 million for the next two seasons.

"Fausto Carmona," Indians: He may miss the season after being caught for identity fraud (his name is actually Roberto Hernandez Heredia). He's due $7 million this season.

Jake Peavy, White Sox: It's hard to not appreciate the way Peavy is an absolute bulldog on the hill, but he was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA last season as he battled back from a severe injury and he's set to make $17 million in 2012.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Twelve starts in 2010 got Westbrook a two-year deal with the Cardinals. He's going to make $8.5 million this season after a pretty bad 2011 campaign.

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs/Marlins: He'll make $19 million this year, but the Cubs are paying most of it so Big Z can pitch for the Marlins.

Derek Lowe, Braves/Indians: He'll make $15 million this year, but the Braves are paying most of it so Lowe can pitch for the Indians.

Left-handed starters

Worst: Barry Zito
Remaining contract: 2 years, $39 million

Perhaps the worst news is there's actually a club option for 2014. Now, obviously the Giants won't pick that up, barring Zito becoming Tim Lincecum overnight, but there's a $7 million buyout if they don't pick up the option. So Zito will cost the Giants $47 million more, at the very least, before they can wash their hands of him. This actually has to be one of the worst contracts of all time. Zito is 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and zero postseason innings pitched in his five seasons with the Giants.

Honorable Mention

Johan Santana, Mets: He was earning his deal pre-injury, so this one isn't really anyone's fault. Santana is due $49.5 million for the next two seasons, though, so that is rough.

Relievers

Worst: Rafael Soriano
Remaining contract: 2 years, $25 million

Soriano wasn't even the Yankees' best setup man last season (David Robertson was way better). Soriano was a stud in Tampa Bay in '10, so it's possible he's a great closer for the Yankees in 2013, if Mariano Rivera retires. But even when Soriano had a good second half last season, his numbers weren't awesome. And, again, we're talking about a non-closer making eight figures per season.

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: It will be interesting to see how Papelbon performs throughout this contract. He could very well earn his $50 million over the course of the next four years, but I'm wondering what the Phillies' front office thought when they saw that the Reds signed 2011 Philly closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. I also wonder how this deal will feel if the Phillies can't find a way to lock up Cole Hamels long-term (he's a free agent next offseason). So this one has less to do with Papelbon and more to do with what the deal might end up costing the Phillies, because $50 million is an awful lot to give to a closer.

Brandon Lyon, Astros: Lyon will make $5.5 million this season. His 2011 season was cut short due to an injury, but he had an 11.48 ERA with as many blown saves as actual saves (four).



Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part II: Outfielders and designated hitters

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:58 pm
 

Giants OF Pat Burrell will retire



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Just days after J.D. Drew said he was retiring, Pat Burrell is also ending his career in baseball. It seems only fitting that the two will go out after the beginnings of their career were intertwined. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports Burrell will retire.

The two were picked within the first five picks of the 1998 draft, but the story goes back to 1997.

The 1997 Golden Spikes Award winner from Florida State, Drew was taken by the Phillies with the second overall pick in 1997. However, Drew and agent Scott Boras wanted a record $10 million contract from Philadelphia, which wouldn't meet that demand. Instead of relenting, Drew went to play in an independent league and re-enter the 1998 draft.

It just so happened the Phillies had the top pick in that draft as well. But instead of trying their luck with Drew, they took Burrell, the 1998 Golden Spikes Award winner, out of Miami. Drew went to the Cardinals with the fifth pick.

Burrell signed quickly and was immediately cast as the anti-Drew.

While Drew would make his big-league debut in 1998, Burrell spent two more years in the minors before appearing with the Phillies in 2000. That year he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting 18 home runs and driving in 79. In nine years with the Phillies, he hit .257/.367/.485 with 251 homers, winning the World Series in 2008, his final season in Philadelphia.

The Phillies didn't have need for the outfielder anymore in 2009, letting him sign with the Rays as a DH in 2009, but he struggled in that spot, hitting just .218/.311/.361 with 16 homers in 2009 and the first part of 2010. Hitting .202 with two homers in his first 24 games in 2010, the Rays released him.

Burrell signed with the Giants and rebounded, hitting 18 homers in 96 games for San Francisco, winning another World Series.

After signing a one-year deal with the Giants for 2011, he couldn't replicate his magic of the season before, hitting .230/.352/.404 with seven home runs in 92 games thanks to a right foot injury that had a large part in his retirement. In parts of 12 seasons, Burrell finishes with a career .252/.361/.472 with 292 home runs.

Drew's career line stands at .278/.384/.489 with 242 home runs in parts of 14 seasons.

While both players had good careers, neither turned out to be among the better players of their generation as so many predicted.

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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