Tag:Justin Upton
Posted on: March 8, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 5:51 pm
 

NFL coach branching out into baseball

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Raheem MorrisPerhaps looking ahead to the NFL lockout when he may need a part-time job, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris tried his hand at managing a baseball team on Tuesday.

Morris was in uniform and sat on the bench with Rays manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday and even had carte blanche to call hit-and-runs and bunts. And then in the fourth inning of the game against the Blue Jays, Morris went out to the mound to take James Shields out of the game after the right-hander reached his 60-pitch limit.

"It was funny. I'm definitely used to seeing Joe come out there," Shields told the Tampa Tribune. "He came out, he walked out to the mound and said, 'So what do we do now?' I said you're supposed to get the ball from me, and he's like, 'Oh, OK. Then hand me the ball. What are we doing after the game?' This is what we're supposed to talk about out there. It was pretty funny."

Morris also took the lineup card to the umpires at the start of the game.

Bucs wide receivers coach Eric Yarber took batting practice and ground balls before the game and served as the first base coach during the first inning. 

Morris also did some scouting of his own while he was in camp.

"[Evan Longoria could] probably play a little linebacker for me, a little Sam," Morris told MLB.com. "He's got some toughness. I notice he's got a little bit of swagger."

He'd also take B.J. Upton.

"Maybe coming in as the nickel, he doesn't want to tackle," Morris said. "So I'll get him out there on third down. But Joe got him to run the bases hard now, so I can get him to tackle."

Maddon said he'd like to take a turn running the Bucs' scout team.

"If he can see over our line, he's got a chance," Morris said.

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More MLB coverage
Posted on: February 13, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 3:14 pm
 

Reports from reportings

Heath Bell With pitchers and catchers from nine teams reporting today, there's been plenty of news to report.

Here's a look around the league at some interesting tidbits:

• Padres closer Heath Bell, right, said he's surprised -- but happy -- he's still in San Diego. His agents are hoping for a multi-year deal with the team this spring. (MLB.com )

• Jered Weaver said he had "no hard feelings" toward the Angels after losing his arbitration case last week, but there are currently no talks about a long-term deal right now. (Los Angeles Times )

• Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton says he's glad he didn't get traded last season and wants to stay with the Diamondbacks long-term. (Arizona Republic )

• Here's a really good read, as Atlanta Journal-Constitution Braves beat writer David O'Brien goes on a motorcycle ride with new Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, and the two talk motorcycles and managing following the ride on Super Bowl Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• Padres manager Bud Black says in a Q&A that the team is more balanced this season than it was in 2010. (San Diego Union-Tribune )

• New Padres first baseman Brad Hawpe took a glove from former Rockies teammate Todd Helton to use at first base. (San Diego Union-Tribune )

• Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher had surgery to remove a cancerous nodule on his thyroid gland last Thursday. Butcher attended some of the team's meetings on Sunday and expects to be back full-time this week. (Orange County Register )

• Mariners closer David Aardsma hopes to be off crutches on Wednesday and maybe throwing a week or a week-and-a-half later. The Mariners closer hopes to return in April. (Seattle Times )

* The Mariners may be looking to add Chad Durbin to their bullpen. (FOXSports.com )

• The Indians see Orlando Cabrera as a "super utility" type, playing all around the infield. (Cleveland Plain Dealer )

• The Cubs and closer Carlos Marmol are expected to avoid arbitration and may announce a deal on Monday, the day before a hearing was scheduled. The Cubs offered $4.1 million and Marmol asked for $5.65 million. It's possible the two have reached a long-term deal. (MLB.com )

• Fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of Strat-O-Matic. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:36 am
 

Possible Mets-Diamondbacks blockbuster?

Carlos Beltran
A report from a Puerto Rican newspaper says the Mets and Diamondbacks are considering a monster trade. It seems like a pretty unlikely scenario, but hey, the word "rumors" is right in the title of this blog, so it's our duty to report it.

According to El Nuevo Dia (link in Spanish), Puerto Rico's biggest paper, the deal would have the Mets sending outfielder Carlos Beltran, shortstop Jose Reyes and top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia to Arizona in exchange for outfielder Justin Upton and shortstop Stephen Drew.

I'm not sure this has any legs, at least unless there's a lot more to the details, because Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would have jumped all over it. Upton is signed for five more years at a reasonable price and Drew is under club control for two more years. And the Mets would be dumping $18.5 million in salary for Beltran and $11 million for Reyes, with both due to be free agents after next season.

The only way this would presumably work would be for the Mets to send a boatload of money to the Diamondbacks in the deal, but even so, I don't know why Kevin Towers would do it. He's supposedly been asking for a huge package of players for Upton alone, so it doesn't make sense that he'd move both of his best young players for Mejia and two expiring contracts.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:17 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 5:52 pm
 

Bill James dishes on Cy Young, Greinke, etc. ...

Hot Stove League
In an interview with CBSSports.com's MLB Facts and Rumors, Bill James indicated that while he would have voted for Felix Hernandez to win the AL Cy Young Award, CC Sabathia should have gotten more love. He also added that the Royals should not trade Zack Greinke unless they get two Greinkes in return.

Bill James is an influential baseball writer, historian and statistician who published the Bill James Baseball Abstract in 1977 and helped to usher in the statistical revolution in full force today. James is responsible for such statistics as Range Factor, Win Shares and Game Score. He was also crucial in the understanding that statistics should be adjusted for park factor. James was hired by the Red Sox in 2003 and continues to work for Boston along with publishing the Bill James Handbook . MLB Facts and Rumors profiled some of James' statistical projections for the 2011 season in late October.

Below is the interview with James:

CBSSports.com: If you had a vote, who would you have selected for the AL Cy Young?

Hernandez Bill James: I would have voted for [Felix] Hernandez; however, I do think [CC] Sabathia got short shrift in the voting. Sabathia got surprisingly little support, presumably because people wrote him off because of the 91-point difference in ERA between Felix and CC. [Hernandez had a 2.27 ERA, Sabathia 3.18.] But of that 91 points, about 60 points is just a park effect. Hernandez WAS the best pitcher in the league, but I think it was close between Hernandez and Sabathia.

Do you think there is an over-emphasis on defense these days? More and more teams are moving away from the sluggers who can't field to more dynamic players that can. On one hand, this is a move towards making baseball more athletic. On the other, how important is it for a left fielder to be a good fielder if the tradeoff is a 10-20 home run swing?

Well, I wouldn't generalize about what other teams are doing, and I could not say whether there is or is not an over-emphasis on defense. Baseball is about:
  • 42 percent hitting,
  • 8 percent baserunning,
  • 37 percent pitching and
  • 13 percent fielding.
Which actually is very close to the numbers that John McGraw put out in 1906; McGraw had pitching at 30 percent, but the game has changed since then, and pitching is more central than it was. 
 
But these numbers assume a level of competence. I think if you have pitchers, fielders can do a lot to help them keep the score down. If you don't have pitchers, there isn't much the fielders can do. And if you don't have fielders, then you need really, really good pitching to survive.

There's a lot of hype around Field F/X and while it's certainly going to change the game, how significant do you anticipate the changes being? Will fielding finally be able to be quantified in a reliable fashion (or is it already?) or will much of fielding prowess still rely on scouting as opposed to stats?

We can quantify fielding pretty well now. I have a good deal of confidence in the fielding numbers we have now.  
 
What we do NOT have is the ability to PROJECT fielding reliably. Because we have been looking at batting numbers all of our lives, we know almost intuitively what the range of expectations is. But because the fielding numbers that we have are fairly new to us, we have little ability to anticipate year-to-year variations in performance.
 
Really, I have no idea what will happen with Field F/X data.   I wish the young people good luck with that.

There's been a lot said about Justin Upton after GM Kevin Towers said he would listen to trade offers for the Diamondback. I read an article by Rob Neyer that essentially put forth the case that there have been many outfielders with Upton's numbers at that age that don't go on to be superstars, and those that are so good at a young age tend to not improve significantly because they are already maxed out on talent. What is your take on that?

If they're giving away Justin Upton, sign me up.

I would have to study Rob's points and research the issue before I would comment on that. Certainly there have been young outfielders who were dominant at a very early age (Cesar Cedeno , Al Kaline , Ted Williams ) who did not improve offensively after that. Upton has not been a dominant offensive player. He was very good one year; the rest of his career, not so good. A 23-year-old hitter 422 games into his major league career... my intuition would be that he would probably improve more often than he would fail to improve. I would guess that if you had 20 Justin Uptons, 15 of them would have better years ahead. But that's a guess.

One thing I noticed while perusing the predicted statlines in your Handbook is the optimism surrounding youngsters like Jesus Montero, Domonic Brown, Pedro Alvarez, etc... I've heard around the internet that the Handbook tends to be too optimistic when it comes to projecting young players with little to none MLB experience. Do you think these concerns are well founded or off base?

If someone has studied the data and can demonstrate that our projections are over-optimistic, of course we'd look at it. If someone speculates that this is true, I'm not really too interested.

Intuitively, I doubt that that is true. Our projection for Jason Heyward last year was extremely accurate -- a few points high on batting average, but an extremely good projection. For Buster Posey, we projected .270 with 11 homers, 54 RBI. He actually hit .305 with 18 homers, 67 RBI. We had projected Jose Tabata at .273. He hit .299. We had projected Tyler Colvin for 4 homers, 17 RBI; he had 20 homers and drove in 56. We had projected Michael Stanton for .228 with 9 homers, 22 RBI; he hit .259 with 22 homers and 59 RBI. 
 
As part of the process of producing the Handbook, we look at every projection that we made the previous year, and compare it to what the player actually did. I study those charts every year, looking for any systematic problems. I would be surprised if anyone else actually looks at them as closely as I do after the fact, comparing what the hitters actually did to what we had projected for them, and I would be surprised if we were systematically optimistic on young hitters. 
 
Other than playing time.

We do systematically use high-end projections on playing time for young players, but that's a choice, and I think it is the only reasonable choice, honestly. If a player MIGHT bat 300 times, we project that he will bat 300 times; if he might bat 500 times, we project that he will bat 500 times. For this reason: that what the reader wants to know is, if this player plays, what kind of player will he be?

We don't have any way of knowing, in October, 2010, how much playing time Domonic Brown will get in 2011. Nobody does, and everybody with any sense knows that. Therefore, trying to guess how much playing time he WILL get is a fool's errand. The question that you SHOULD ask yourself is, "If he does get playing time, how will he play?" If he doesn't get playing time, there's nothing we can do about it.

There's quite a powerful dynamic formed in the Mets with Sandy Alderson as GM and Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi coming in. What do you think of the Mets front office now? Do you think they'll make a positive and major difference, or was Omar Minaya underrated and/or unlucky?

Those are some really competent people there. Part of the problem is that it is surprisingly difficult to use a small-market strategy in a large market.  The gambles that you might take when you don't have options don't look so attractive when you have the money to pursue better options. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to get around that.

Greinke Dayton Moore calls you up and says he's going to do exactly what you recommend for Zack Greinke. So what do you do? Would it be fair to say Moore should go after top-end minor leaguers who are close to hitting the bigs to align with their own youngsters or should it be best player available?

Well, you can't keep pushing the future away. At some point you have to embrace it and push the start button. The idea that you can get a team of players who are all the same age or about the same age is a chimera, for the most part, and anyway if you do, that's Cleveland in 2007. So if it's me, I don't trade Zack Greinke unless I can get two Zack Greinke's in return.

Scouting vs statistics still inspires a lot of partisanship. Do you think one day both sides can ever co-exist peacefully?

In my experience, we have co-existed peacefully for years. I think that's more of a media debate than a professionals debate. None of us whose butts are on the line are under the impression that we have the whole thing figured out and everybody who doesn't agree with us is just wrong. In my experience, we're all trying to pick up as much as we can from the other guys.

What I don't understand are those that rely wholly on win-loss and ERA and denigrate "advanced" stats. Technically, W-L and ERA are stats too, except they're much older so people are simply used to them. Why is it so difficult for better metrics to be accepted by these people? Natural resistance to change can't be the only answer, can it?

People aren't resisting change; they're advocating a world view. Republicans are not resisting change when they oppose Democratic ideas, they're advocating their own world view, and the same for Democrats; they're not resisting Republicans. Buddhists are not resisting Christianity. 

I probably see the world backward, but... I've always been surprised at how many people will accept new ideas, how many people will consider what you have to say, and how many people will adapt to a new idea. I have always been astonished by how rapidly our way of seeing the world has penetrated the larger baseball universe. I certainly never expected these ideas to have the audience or the acceptance that they have received.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:52 am
Edited on: November 23, 2010 9:55 am
 

D-Backs CEO says Upton 'probably' stays

Justin Upton Remember the Justin Upton trade rumors?

Well, appears they've cooled. The Diamondbacks enjoyed hearing what others thought he was worth, and nothing wowed them yet.

Diamondbacks team president Derrick Hall doesn't see the talks amounting to anything.

"I think he'll probably be here on Opening Day," Hall told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert .

Kevin Towers said if something does happen with Upton, it should be sooner rather than later.

"I would say before the end of the Winter Meetings we should know," Towers said. "We're kind of walking through this thing slowly right now. If we are overwhelmed in a deal, great. if not, the fallback is we still have Justin Upton on our team, and that's a good thing."

The Winter Meetings are Dec. 6-9 in Orlando.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:23 pm
 

Friday evening rumor roundup

Well, this week has kind of been the March of the Hot Stove League season, in like a lion, out like a lamb -- but there is still some action out there. So here's another roundup.

• The four teams on Justin Upston's no-trade list are the A's, Royals, Tigers and Indians. (FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, via Twitter )

• The Diamondbacks have made a two-year, $3 million offer for Japanese starter Hiro Kobayahsi. (NPB Tracker via Twitter )

• The Braves and Dan Uggla are both open to multiyear contract extension. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Braves have made an offer to free agent Eric Hinske. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Red Sox are "undecided" whether they will bid for Japanese infielders Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (WEEI.com )

• Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes Bob Engle, the Mariners vice president for international operations, signed both Cy Young Award winners, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. He's also got 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and 1996 Cy Young-winner Pat Hentgen on his resume.

• The Yankees released reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. (Star-Ledger )

• There were plenty of 40-man moves on Friday, as teams set their rosters in the deadline for the Rule 5 draft. The most interesting moves belonged to the Pirates, who designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. The only other name that really jumped out at me was that the Mariners put Josh Lueke on their 40-man roster. Lueke was part of the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. In 2009, Lueke plead no contest to charges of false imprisonment with violence after an incident in 2008. Lueke will be a controversial figure if he gets called up to Seattle.

UPDATE: The Pirates tried to negotiate a contract with Duke, who is arbitration-eligible, and also explored a trade. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:58 am
 

Hot Stove League profile: Justin Upton

Hot Stove League Through Nov. 26, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors will be profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today: trade candidate Justin Upton.

Coming into this week's GM meetings, nobody would have expected that Justin Upton's name would be perhaps the most discussed. He's one of the Diamondbacks' most valuable pieces, and he's under contract through 2015 -- a contract that, if he's the burgeoning All-Star most think, is pretty reasonable. Why would they trade him?

It seems to have started as an innocent statement by new Arizona GM Kevin Towers, saying nobody is untouchable and he's always open to the possibility that a trade proposal will wow him. Somehow that quickly became "the Diamondbacks are shopping Upton," and teams apparently started blowing up Towers' phone with offers.

He's an exciting player, a fleet outfielder who has some pop, plays good defense and steals bases. The first overall pick in the 2005 draft batted .273/.356/.442 in 2010, his third full season, with 17 homers and 69 RBI. He's not without his potential drawbacks, including a propensity for strikeouts, a reputation as a streaky hitter and a shoulder problem that ended his 2010 season early. But he's just 23 with a huge upside, and he's very desirable for anyone looking for a young, impact bat (which is pretty much everyone).

STATS

2010: .273/.356/.442 in 571 PA, 18 SB, 17 HR, 9.3 UZR/150

Career: .272/.352/.471 in 1,728 PA, 41 SB, 60 HR, 2.4 UZR/150

Justin Upton WHAT IT WILL TAKE

A lot. Towers is in a very powerful position -- he has potential trading partners willing to outbid each other, and has absolutely no motivation to make the deal if he doesn't get what he wants. His worst-case scenario is keeping Upton, and what's the problem with that? Towers was quoted as saying he wouldn't move unless he felt like the Diamondbacks would "win" the trade.

Some teams have reportedly quickly dropped out of the running after determining that the Diamondbacks' demands are over the top. It's clear from various reports that Towers wants a large package of players, including multiple guys who are either in the majors or major-league ready. The approach in a scenario like this is that if you can get six players, you're bound to hit on a couple of them.

WHERE HE COULD GO

It's been reported that more than half the teams in baseball at least made initial inquiries, and five supposedly made strong pushes to take the talks further. What's interesting in this case is that the have-nots can be players, because the currency is prospects and not money. His contract gives him no-trade protection from four clubs, though it's not clear which four.

The Blue Jays have been mentioned prominently, and have pitching prospects to offer. The Red Sox reportedly made a big initial push, but that might have cooled. The Mariners are interested but might not have the prospects. The Orioles and Marlins also pop up in rumors.

PREDICTION

Towers puts all these offers in his pocket and doesn't make a move at this point. If teams want Upton this badly now, Towers can afford to wait until midseason and see a) where the Diamondbacks are looking in terms of contending any time soon; and b) whether there are contenders who need a difference-making bat badly enough to really overpay. I'm betting he at least starts the season in Phoenix.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 11:29 am
 

Friday morning rumor roundup


The owners have taken over for the GMs in Orlando, but the hot stove has been kicked up a notch this week. Here are some current storylines.

* The Diamondbacks are increasingly inclined to move Justin Upton, with the Blue Jays, Mariners and Marlins having expressed "a high level of interest." (USA Today )

* The Giants want Aubrey Huff back, and he wants to come back, but talks haven't gotten serious. (CSNBayArea.com )

* Hal Steinbrenner says the Yankees and Derek Jeter are working with "mutual respect," but it's a "business negotiation." (Star-Ledger )

* Drayton McLane has ramped up his efforts to sell the team by retaining an investment firm. Asking price: $800 million. (bizofbaseball.com )

* Bad news for Phillies fans who want to keep Jayson Werth around: GM Ruben Amaro is already referring to the outfielder in the past tense. (Philadelphia Inquirer video)

* The Tigers' three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit is officially official. (Tigers.com )

* The incentive clauses built into Felix Hernandez's contract make his Cy Young worth an extra $4.25 million (bizofbaseball.com )

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com