Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Athletics
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:41 pm
 

AL West will be the new AL East



By Matt Snyder


The AL East has been pretty widely regarded as the best division in baseball for a while. And with good reason, as the numbers don't lie. In the past 15 years, the AL wild card has come from the AL East 11 times. The best record has also come from the AL East 11 times. The American League World Series representative has come from the AL East nine times, while the World Series champion was an AL East team six times. Also note the '96 Yankees won it all, 16 seasons ago. Simply, it's a dominant division.

But with the events of this offseason, we're liable to see a shift in power to the west coast. Monday's Yoenis Cespedes signing for the A's wasn't a seismic shift type deal, but it shows they're focusing on winning within the next four years. Also note that the extensions of general manager Billy Beane and club president Michael Crowley are a true sign the A's will eventually get their new stadium in San Jose. When that happens, they'll start to have some extra revenue. So things should be looking up for the A's in the next few years, right? Well, not so fast.

AL West offseason
In fact, the A's might be looking like the AL West's version of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2000, the Orioles haven't finished better than third -- which happened only once -- and have come in last the past four seasons. They've also had a payroll of at least $72 million seven of the past 11 seasons. They aren't poor by any means. They just can't keep up in the monster of a division that is the AL East.

Let's see what's in store for the A's in the next decade or so, in terms of their divisional competition.

• The Angels have an owner who just shelled out over $300 million to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency. It probably didn't seem like much of a big deal to Arte Moreno, considering he's looking at a local TV contract of 20 years for $3 billion. Plus, the Angels play in the mega-market that is Los Angeles. They aren't going away.

• The Rangers paid over $50 million just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish and then paid him over $50 million more to sign. The have a front office and ownership group that can compete with anyone in terms of brains and most teams in terms of dollars. The Dallas area is a large market and the fan base is continuing to grow after two straight World Series appearances. They aren't going away, either.

• The Astros are moving to the American League West, and while it's gonna be a few years before they can compete, remember they have a new owner, Jim Crane, who likely didn't pay $680 million to own a doormat of a baseball team. Plus, Houston is one of the largest markets in America -- and the Astros had a nine-figure payroll in 2009. Don't discount how they'll play in this division come 2015 or 2016. They can spend, and will have to in order to keep up.

• The Mariners are in the 12th biggest market in MLB, which isn't bad at all. But they'd be at risk of falling far behind if not for a lucrative TV deal in their near future. Last week, a USA Today report noted the Mariners are among a handful of teams ready to cash in with a mega-TV deal like the Angels just did. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners can opt out of their current local TV deal with Root Sports and hit the open market. The Seattle Times also pointed out that the Mariners have trimmed their bottom line to the point that the only long-term investment is the reliable ace Felix Hernandez. So they could be positioning for a major strike within the next few years, after landing the aforementioned lucrative TV deal.

The process is going to be gradual, especially and obviously with the Mariners, Astros and A's.

Just don't be surprised if a decade from now the AL West is viewed as the best division in baseball. The resources are all falling into place for a westward move in the balance of league power.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Cespedes discusses A's, Marlins, coming to USA

By Matt Snyder

Cespedes to A's
The big news in the baseball world Monday was the signing of Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes. He ended up with Billy Beane's Oakland A's, not the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs or Detroit Tigers.

Cespedes is a 26-year-old outfielder. 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 hit .458 in six games during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

After the signing Monday, Cespedes spoke to MLB.com about his new deal to play in America. Here's what he had to say, again, via MLB.com:
"I am super happy because it's been a dream of mine for a long time," Cespedes said. "To leave my country and play in the big leagues is what the goal was. My family is really happy, too. They are living their dreams through me."

"My first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season, and little by little, I'll make more goals," Cespedes said. "I've been preparing every day for this and I 100 percent believe that I am ready for the Major Leagues. I have a lot of international experience and experience at a high level. I'm very confident in my abilities."

"Miami was a great visit," Cespedes said. "I had a good time. I ate with the team president and other people in front office. They were nice and it was a great experience, but the A's were for me."

"It was a great process, training and working out for teams," Cespedes said. "It was difficult decision to leave Cuba, but I'm really excited with how things worked out. I saw a bunch of teams and they saw me, too, but Oakland was the best for me."
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:50 pm
 

A's agree to 4-year, $36M deal with Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In a shocker, the Oakland A's have agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal worth $36 million, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports. CBSSports.com has also confirmed that Cespedes has been cleared by the U.S. Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, meaning he's free to sign his deal with Oakland.

The Marlins were reportedly the most aggressive -- and obviously the most public -- of the bidders for the 26-year-old center fielder. The Cubs, White Sox, Indians, Orioles and Tigers were also interested in signing him. The A's were mentioned last week as having some interest in Cespedes, but were never seen as the front-runner. However, in the end the Marlins offered Cespedes the same amount of money as the A's, but over two more seasons. The Marlins offer, according to Heyman, was $36 million for six years, not the $40 million being reported by some. The A's deal precludes the team from offering Cespedes arbitration, meaning he will become a free agent after the 2015 season at the age of 30.

Oakland, it should be noted, made a strong bid for Aroldis Chapman two years ago when he signed with the Reds.

The A's signed center fielder Coco Crisp to a two-year, $14 million deal this offseason with an option for 2014. Some, though, have wondered if Cespedes isn't more of a corner outfielder than a center fielder, so he could move and the team could leave Crisp in center. Oakland, though, also added Josh Reddick and Seth Smith to its outfield this offseason.

Cespedes, though, is expected to need some time in the minors, but at $9 million a year, he's unlikely to spend much time in the likes of Sacramento, Midland or Stockton. He struggled in his showing in the Dominican Winter League, but he still has a combination of raw power and great speed.

Tim Brown of Yahoo.com first reported Cespedes had chosen to sign with the A's.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.




Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:25 am
 

Canseco earns tryout with Mexican team



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Shockingly unable to get a deal with the A's by asking on Twitter, Jose Canseco is headed to Mexico in an attempt to restart his baseball career.

Canseco, 47, earned a tryout with the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League, the team announced on Sunday.

The former MVP and Rookie of the Year had taken to Twitter to beg A's general manager Billy Beane for a tryout earlier this offseason. Beane, obviously, didn't bite.

Canseco last played in the majors in 2001 for the White Sox and in the minor leagues for the White Sox in 2002. In parts of 17 seasons Canseco hit .266/.353/.515 with 462 home runs, in a career he's admitted was aided greatly by steroids.

Last year, Canseco played in 64 games with the Yuma Scorpions of the North American Baseball League, hitting .256/.371/.427 with eight home runs. He played in other independent leagues in 2001, 2006 and 2010.

Canseco took to Twitter on Sunday to confirm the news.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:41 pm
 

Orioles won't add Manny Ramirez

Manny RamirezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Athletics, Blue Jays and Orioles had been said to have interest in Manny Ramirez -- but strike the Orioles from that list.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Baltimore's Dan Duquette told reporters Friday that the Orioles probably won't be adding Ramirez, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.

"I don't think there's going to be a fit for Manny," Duquette said. "We've looked at that all winter and I'm not sure there's a fit there for the Orioles. I wish Manny a lot of luck, but I just don't think he fits in our ballclub right now."

Duquette said he didn't foresee the Orioles signing any more players before the team starts camp.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 11:18 am
 

Rich Harden to miss all of 2012

Rich HardenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Free-agent right-hander Rich Harden will miss all of 2012 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right shoulder capsule, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Harden has been troubled by the injury for the last four years, but finally had surgery last week. The operation was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The injury is the same that cost former teammate Dallas Braden the majority of 2011 and has bothered Johan Santana. Harden told Slusser he was confident he could pitch again in 2013.

"There's no reason, if I work hard, I can't get back to where I was before," Harden told the newspaper.

Harden said the injury occurred on April 15, 2007, when he tried to field a comebacker with his bare hand. Since then, Harden has tried to pitch through the injury by altering his mechanics, but other injuries started popping up.

"If you look at those injuries, that's definitely where they came from," Harden said. "Yes, I've been injured a lot, but nobody really knew what I'd been dealing with for five years."

Harden, 30, started 15 games for the A's last season, going 4-4 with a 5.12 ERA. From 2003-2006, Harden was 30-16 with a 3.67 ERA in 77 games and 72 starts (all with Oakland), striking out 404 batters in 439 innings. After pitching in just seven games in 2007 -- including four games after (but only one start) after suffering his injury against the Yankees -- Harden bounced back with a great year in 2008 with the A's and Cubs, going 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 25 starts. In the last three seasons, Harden's gone 18-18 with a 4.79 ERA with the Rangers and A's, but still had 337 strikeouts in 315 2/3 innings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:29 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:37 pm
 

Cespedes: 'Hopefully I can play for the Marlins'

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


There are plenty of differences between life in Cuba and in the United States -- and while I'm no expert on Cuba (besides my two years living in Guantanamo Bay while in elementary school), I'm guessing the free agency process is something Cespedes hasn't experienced before.

Coming to America
One of the keys to this process is leverage -- and if he wants to play in Miami, he's doing it wrong. In Miami on Wednesday to visit the Marlins -- the first leg of what is expected to be a tour -- Cespedes arrived at the airport and briefly spoke to the assembled media.

"It would be good [to play here]" Cespedes told "half a dozen media members" at the airport (via Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel). "There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."

Or maybe I'm wrong and he doesn't want to play in Miami and he's being ultra-savvy to get the Chicago teams to up their offers.

Rodriguez also notes that in addition to the usual suspects of Cespedes admirers -- the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles and Tigers -- the Indians and Athletics are also interested in signing Cespedes.

The 26-year-old center fielder is going to sign for a lot of money, wherever it is. So far, estimates have been for as "little" as $35 million and as much as $60 million.

Cespedes donned a hard hat for his walkthrough at the almost-completed park in Miami's "Little Havana" neighborhood. In Spanish, he said he believes the Marlins "can compete for a World Series" as early as this season.

Cespedes can't sign with a team until he's cleared by the U.S. Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, but he can negotiate and agree upon a deal. His agent, Adam Katz, has said he expects Cespedes to start spring training on time, but the only question is where.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
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.

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