Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Interminable Prince-to-Nationals rumors live on



By Matt Snyder


If it's starting to feel like an inevitability that top remaining free agent Prince Fielder will end up with the Washington Nationals, that's because nearly all of the chatter is focused on a Nats-Prince marriage. The funny thing is, some of the local beat writers continue to report that the Nationals won't bid on Fielder -- along with a big caveat.

Take Wednesday's report from MLB.com's Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson. The first line of the report says "there is a '99 percent' chance that the Nationals will not sign" Fielder. Of course, it later says the Nationals aren't willing to "give Fielder anything close" to the contract that the Angels gave Pujols.

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Step back and think about it for a second, though. The teams most connected to Fielder at this point are the Nationals, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles. The Blue Jays have been mentioned and Wednesday ESPN.com's Buster Olney even said the Dodgers "should" try to ink Fielder. The one thing we know about all of those teams is that -- while some of them could afford to do so -- they aren't willing to pay Pujols money for Fielder. If we can gather anything from the reports of the past six weeks, it's that Fielder isn't going to get a mega-deal.

So it's easy to say the Nationals won't sign Fielder "at his current asking price," but that doesn't mean they won't sign him. In fact, as Nationals Journal reported Thursday morning, Fielder's agent Scott Boras met with Nationals owners Ted and Mark Lerner Wednesday night.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the robust slugger, who will sign before spring training begins (MLB.com) -- just don't start counting teams out when you see a caveat like "at his current price." Asking prices fall. Just ask Ryan Madson -- another Boras client, by the way -- and the Cincinnati Reds.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Quick hits: Madson, Wood, Cubs, more

By Matt Snyder

It's been one of those "slow news days," but there have been a handful of minor moves and reports, so let's just grab a bunch and get them out in the open here.

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• First of all, this is far from minor, but my esteemed colleague Jon Heyman already blogged on it. Go check out his post on Ryan Madson and the Reds' interest -- along with several other teams still in the mix.

• It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Kerry Wood would finish his MLB playing career with the Cubs after returning "home" last season, but it's at least a possibility that isn't necessarily the case now. From multiple different reports (MLBTradeRumors.com has them), the Phillies and Reds are also in on the bidding for Wood's services with the Cubs. The Reds would be out of the bidding if they sign either Madson or Francisco Cordero. Wood could serve as closer for the Reds with Sean Marshall setting up, while Wood would be a setup man in Philly for Jonathan Papelbon. Brad Lidge would be the other setup option for the Phillies, should they not sign Wood.

It's interesting that the Cubs want Wood back. Any other veteran is being allowed to walk via free agency or traded -- or at least being rumored to be on the trading block. Instead, general manager Jed Hoyer told XM Radio Tuesday that the Cubs have offered Wood a substantial raise to stay put. He is a special case, with his strong ties to Chicago and to the Cubs' organization. Cubs president Theo Epstein recently said Wood has the type of personality the Cubs hope will spread in the locker room. Wood will reportedly make a decision by Friday.

The situation seems to be one of those that is a catch-22 for Cubs fans. On one hand, Wood stands a much better chance of winning a World Series ring if he leaves -- considering the massive rebuild the Cubs are undertaking. On the other, he's a favorite son to fans of the franchise. If he does walk, I'd suggest Cubs fans hope he gets a ring in the next year or two much like Mark Grace got one with the Diamondbacks. If he does stay, that shows how strongly he feels like a Cub.

• Speaking of the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano is likely to open the season as the starting left fielder, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Not for lack of trying, of course, it's just that with $54 million left on Soriano's colossal contract, the Cubs can't seem to find any takers willing to take on a decent portion of the remaining salary.

• The Red Sox signed starting pitcher Aaron Cook to a minor-league contract earlier this week. With injury woes in the rotation, this is merely an organizational depth signing and nothing more. There's no way it would preclude the Red Sox from making a trade for a starter or adding someone else -- like Hiroki Kuroda, who the Red Sox have reportedly discussed.

• Backup catcher Koyie Hill has signed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has avoided arbitration, signing a one-year deal worth about $2 million, reports Morosi.

• Relief pitcher Aaron Heilman has signed a minor-league contract with the Mariners, the team announced.

As for Prince Fielder, I've got nothing for you (that was done in my best Jeff Probst voice). I guess Prince has to sign with someone eventually, right?

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:10 am
 

Under-30 players building Hall of Fame foundation



By Matt Snyder


T-minus two days until the Hall of Fame vote for the 2012 induction is unveiled, so we'll continue talking about the Hall of Fame in this relatively slow time of the year. This time around, we'll take a look at active players younger than 30 who have laid a foundation that makes a run to Cooperstown possible.

Now, make no mistake about it, none of these players are close to having completed their big-league careers nor are they currently close to being locks to the Hall of Fame. Still, some are well on their way and others have started a journey that may push them into the discussion in a decade or so.

Obviously things could change in just one season -- just take a look below at a certain catcher from Minnesota. Or think about how good it looked for Grady Sizemore three years ago at this time before injuries completely derailed him. And we have to understand that just a few seasons of being an elite player doesn't necessarily mean the longevity will be there -- take the cases of Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden, for example. For various reasons, careers can get off track. Still, it's fun to take a look at which young players have built a possible Hall-of-Fame foundation.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are 20 under-30 guys who could be on the right track, in alphabetical order (age in parentheses):

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Miguel Cabrera (28) - The first name we list might well be the most impressive case on here. In eight full seasons (he appeared in 87 games as a rookie) Cabrera has been an All-Star six times and finished in the top five of MVP voting five times. He's hit .317/.395/.555, which is good for a 149 OPS-plus. Saying Cabrera is just about halfway through his career is probably reasonable and he already has 277 homers and 984 RBI.

Robinson Cano (29) - He wouldn't have appeared on this list until the past two seasons, but Cano has grown into one of the more dangerous hitters in baseball. He'd need to continue this pace for another six to eight years at least before being a Hall candidate, though.

Prince Fielder (27) - Six full seasons -- with 39 games in '05 -- have yielded 230 homers and 656 RBI. Fielder also has an impressive .390 on-base percentage and a whopping .929 OPS (143 OPS-plus). He's already finished in the top four of MVP voting three times. Can his robust body hold up long-term? If it does, he's probably headed to Cooperstown. Baseball-Reference.com's top similar statistical player through age 27 is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.

Adrian Gonzalez (29) - Did he get started too late? Gonzalez didn't become a full-timer until '06 and wasn't a dominant force until '09. Still, four All-Star Games, three Gold Gloves and two Top 10 finishes in MVP voting. He also has a career .889 OPS (140 OPS-plus) and over 1,100 hits already.

Felix Hernandez (25) - We've seen so many pitchers flame out over the years after huge starts -- I mentioned two in the intro -- but King Felix basically only needs to stay healthy and keep his head on straight. He's already 85-67 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 1,264 strikeouts. He has one Cy Young and also finished second once. And he could conceivably pitch 15 more seasons. Even conservatively -- assuming health -- you have to say he has 12 more in him.

Matt Kemp (27) - After a runner-up finish in MVP voting this past season, Kemp inked a huge contract with the Dodgers. He could be the face of the franchise for a decade. The power-speed combo (128 HR, 144 steals) along with a Gold Glove shows he can do it all.

Clayton Kershaw (23) - He went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 248 strikeouts, an All-Star appearance and a Cy Young award last season. At 23. Enough said.

Tim Lincecum (27) - Two Cy Youngs, four All-Star appearances and a World Series ring so far. Not too shabby. Like Hernandez, Kershaw and all other great young pitchers, health and avoiding major off-field trouble are the biggest roadblocks. But there is serious foundation and talent here. I wouldn't bet against Lincecum. 

Evan Longoria (26) - He's going to be the face of the Rays for a long time and his arrival coincided with them shedding the laughingstock label. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has three All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. His 136 OPS-plus bodes well. But his average dropped 50 points last season. Harbinger or aberration? I'd guess the latter.

Joe Mauer (28) - Would've seemed a lot more firm here last year at this time. The disaster of a season doesn't erase the amazing good Mauer did through the first six-plus seasons in his career, but it raises health questions moving forward. His bat means a whole lot less if he's playing first base instead of catching.

Andrew McCutchen (25) - He already has 95 doubles, 19 triples, 51 homers and 78 stolen bases. He has an .822 OPS (123 OPS-plus). What if he gets even better and is the driving force behind a complete Pirates turnaround?

Dustin Pedroia (28) - The 2007 Rookie of the Year followed up that act with a 2008 MVP. He's hitting .305/.373/.463 in his six-year career, while he's also won a World Series ring, two Gold Gloves and been to the All-Star Game three times.

Hanley Ramirez (28) - He would've been one of the best bets two years ago, but he's now mired in a two-year decline. Goes to show how quickly things can change. Of course, there's plenty of time to get back to 2007-09 form.

Jose Reyes (28) - In six "full" seasons (we'll say at least 125 games played), Reyes has been among the best players in baseball. There's no questioning that. Can he stay on the diamond enough to make himself a viable Hall candidate? It doesn't look great, but the talent is there.

Troy Tulowitzki (27) - Tulowitzki brings in three straight top-eight finishes in MVP voting and is the premier defensive shortstop in the National League. He really only has four seasons worth counting toward a possible Hall induction so far, though, so he's gonna need about eight to 10 more.

Justin Upton (24) - The potential here is insane. He came in fourth in MVP voting last season and should only get better. Again, there are many ways for younger players to derail, but Upton has all the tools to one day hit Cooperstown. Consider me a believer.

Justin Verlander (28) - Yes, he's only 28. Verlander already has 107 wins, 1,215 strikeouts, four All-Star appearances (that is, he made the team, not pitched in the game), a Cy Young and, yes, an AL MVP. He was already one of the better aces in baseball, but then went into a new stratosphere last season. If that continues, he's a cinch to make the Hall. We'll see.

Joey Votto (28) - In just four full seasons, Votto has made a name for himself as a marquee slugger. He won the 2010 MVP and followed it up with a stellar 2011 campaign as well. His career .955 OPS (151 OPS-plus) is incredible and he added a Gold Glove last season, too.

Jered Weaver (29) - Weaver was quietly really good until last season, and you can now drop the "quietly." He was the All-Star Game starter and could have easily won the Cy Young Award, if Verlander didn't happen to be putting up a historic season in the same league. In six seasons, Weaver is 82-47 with a 3.31 ERA and 977 strikeouts. Considering his age, though, this is a pretty tall order. He'll need another eight years of dominance, I'd guess.

David Wright (29) - I think I would have felt pretty good about him after 2008, but he's fallen off a slight bit since then. Perhaps the change in the ballpark dimensions helps, in addition to some health -- for himself and teammates. Wright does already have five All-Star appearances and a .300/.380/.508 line with 183 homers and 151 steals.



I think my four best bets right now would be, in no particular order: Verlander, Cabrera, Hernandez and Upton. Could be a lot more, could be a lot less. All 20 of these guys have plenty of time to either build a resume or screw it up. History tells us there's no chance all 20 make the cut, and even guessing half of these guys getting to Cooperstown is a big stretch.

Feel free to add more names in the comments, as there definitely isn't a wrong answer in this department.

Coming Sunday: "Asterisk" guys with Hall-type resumes
Monday: 2012 Hall of Fame inductee(s) announced
Monday: Looking ahead at the 2013 first-year eligibles
Monday: Looking at the '14, '15 and '16 first-year eligibles

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Prince Fielder-to-Nationals rumors won't go away

By Matt Snyder

Considering he's by far the biggest free agent left unsigned, Prince Fielder's name has been -- and will continue to be -- mentioned all over the place in rumors. The latest comes courtesy of Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He reports that an "MLB official" says "word is spreading in the industry" that the Nationals are the favorite to land Fielder.

CBSSports.com's own Jon Heyman had previously reported that a Nationals player believes they are "shooting for" Fielder. And Monday, in response to the Haudricourt report, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times brings us the following: "According to team sources, the party line remains the same: Unless the price -- specifically in years -- drops, the Nationals are unlikely to be that landing spot."

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So what to believe?

Well, I'd say all of it. Here's why: The Nationals probably do want the price to drop, but are also interested in signing him if and when the price becomes right. Unless the Cubs or Rangers come out and blow away Prince and his agent, Scott Boras, what club is left to outbid the deep-pocketed Nationals (remember, they have the richest owner in baseball)? The Mariners or Orioles? Please. The Blue Jays? Maybe. If Fielder wants to go to the AL East and north of the border. Or he could join one of the most promising up-and-coming teams in baseball while staying in the NL.

So it seems as though the feeling that the Nationals will end up with Prince Fielder is very logical, and that's why they are continually speculated to be the frontrunner, even if management is telling all the local beat writers they aren't in on him. Just because they reportedly haven't offered him anything yet doesn't mean they won't.

Fielder, 27, hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs, 120 RBI and finished third in MVP voting last season. While many question his long-term durability due to him being rather large, he's played an average of 160 games per season since being up full-time. He hasn't played less than 157 in a season and appeared in all 162 last year.

If the Nationals did land Prince, watch out. He would join Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse on offense, while they all waited on big-time prospects Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to join the party. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann anchor the rotation while Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are the back-end of the bullpen. That's a lot of youth and talent.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Nats' Rizzo says team isn't chasing Fielder



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Rizzo wants you to know that the Nationals aren't interested in Prince Fielder. Really. But…

"As far as are we going to dab our toe in [the Prince Fielder] water, those are decisions we make early on in that process and we've more or less decided that Adam [LaRoche] is going to be our first baseman," Rizzo said Wednesday on MLBNetwork Radio (via the Washington Times). "Unless something extraordinary and out of the ordinary happened, that's how we're going into spring training."

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Last week Rizzo said the team was planning on LaRoche being the team's first baseman in 2012, but didn't exactly elaborate.

The Nationals have been a popular rumored landing spot for the biggest free agent left on the market, as the team has a lot of money to spend, a good history Scott Boras, Fielder's agent, and it has LaRoche at first base.

LaRoche, 32, was limited to 43 games in 2011 before undergoing labrum surgery in June. In the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal with the Nationals, LaRoche hit .172/.288/.258 with three homers and 15 RBI in 177 plate appearances. LaRoche is a career .267/.337/.478 hitter. He hit 32 homers with the Braves in 2006 and hit 25 homers for three straight years from 2008 to 2010 for the Pirates, Red Sox, Braves and Diamondbacks. LaRoche will make $8 million this season and there's a $10 mutual option for 2013, with a $1 million buyout.

"Adam LaRoche is under contract for us, we're paying him a lot of money to play first base for us next year," Rizzo said. "We feel that he's going to have a bounceback season. We just want him to have his career norms: .265, 25, 85-100 RBI and play great defense. We feel that his shoulder is rehabbed, he's 100 percent, and talking to him just recently, he feels great and he's ready to contribute to us in 2012."

As for Fielder, the question, of course, becomes what does "extraordinary" mean to Rizzo? Could it be Fielder open to a shorter contract with a higher average annual value? Or could it be a longer deal backloaded? Or just Fielder saying he's decided he wants to be a National. The longer Fielder stays on the market, the more possibilities can pop up and something out of the ordinary could happen.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part II



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie. 

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Twitterer
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
@LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
@DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
@str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.



Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.



Best celebration:
Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
None, they're all lame.



Weirdest injury:
Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.

 

Most Impressive home run:
Juan Francisco

Justin Upton

• Prince Fielder

Mark Trumbo

Mike Stanton




Best defensive play:
Asdrubal Cabrera

Brandon Phillips

Ben Revere

Jeff Francoeur

Sam Fuld




So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Logan Morrison: Fake Twitter reporter

By Matt Snyder

Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison is quite the character, and he's built a pretty big following on Twitter based mostly on his sense of humor. I'll say this, even if he's not always hilarious, he's definitely interesting. Thursday afternoon, Morrison decided to play a prank on his followers by "reporting" that "Prince to Seattle is a done deal." Screen-grab:



Obviously, Morrison wasn't serious -- as he later pointed out -- but even more obviously, a good amount of people believed him. My first thought when I saw the tweet was, "here we go, tons of people will believe him." Sure enough, a good amount did -- witness the "50+" retweets (though, in fairness, lots of them knew it was a joke). Still, chalk one up for Morrison on the prank front for today, as he achieved exactly what he wanted to.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:48 am
Edited on: December 11, 2011 4:16 pm
 

BBWAA won't strip Ryan Braun of MVP

Ryan Braun

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Baseball Writers Association of America will not strip Ryan Braun of his National League Most Valuable Player award if he is suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell told the Los Angeles Times.

Ryan Braun

"I got the same question after Ken Caminiti came clean about his steroids usage, and whether we should give the 1996 MVP award instead to (second-place finisher) Mike Piazza," O'Connell told the newspaper. "The answer is no.

"We did not strip Alex Rodriguez of the 2003 MVP when it was learned later he used PEDs while in Texas.

"The voters used the information they had at the time of the election. I don't see how we can change that."

The Dodgers' Matt Kemp finished second in the MVP voting. Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes, while Kemp had 10. Braun received 388 total points in the voting to Kemp's 332. Braun finished second on all 12 ballots that didn't vote for him as the first-place finisher. Kemp had 16 second-place votes and six third-place votes. Braun's teammate, Prince Fielder finished third with one first-place vote and 229 total points, followed by Arizona's Justin Upton, who had one first-place vote and 214 total points.

Braun has denied he took PEDs and has appealed the positive test.

The BBWAA, not Major League Baseball, awards the MVP and is in charge of its voting.

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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