Tag:NL West
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:27 pm
 

Spring primer: San Diego Padres

Bud Black

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Padres' offseason was dominated by their trade with the Reds -- sending starter Mat Latos to Cincinnati for four players, including projected starting first baseman Yonder Alonso and former All-Star Edinson Volquez. In an attempt to find more offense, the Padres also added Carlos Quentin in a deal with the White Sox. The Padres know their problem is scoring runs, and now it's just trying to figure out how to get it.

Major additions: OF Carlos Quentin, 1B Yonder Alonso, RHP Edinson Volquez
Major departures: CL Heath Bell, RHP Mat Latos, 1B Anthony Rizzo, LHP Wade LeBlanc, RHP Aaron Harang

Probable lineup
1. Will Venable RF
2. Chase Headley 3B
3. Cameron Maybin CF
4. Carlos Quentin LF
5. Yonder Alonso 1B
6. Nick Hundley C
7. Orlando Hudson 2B
8. Jason Bartlett SS

Probable rotation
1. Tim Stauffer
2. Clayton Richard
3. Edinson Volquez
4. Cory Luebke
5. Dustin Moseley

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Huston Street
Set-up: Luke Gregerson, Andrew Cashner, Joe Thatcher

Important bench players
OF Chris Denorfia, 1B Jesus Guzman, C John Baker, RP/PH Micah Owings

Prospects to watch
While the Latos trade is one that will be referenced throughout the season, the team could ultimately benefit more from last season's traded that sent reliever Mike Adams to Texas in return for right-hander Joe Wieland and left-hander Robbie Erlin. Both Wieland and Erlin are control pitchers with flyball tendencies that will benefit from the trade. Both starters project to benefit from pitching half their games at spacious Petco Park rather than at the bandbox in Texas. Wieland went 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts at Double-A San Antonio after the trade, while Erlin was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in six starts for the Padres' Texas League affiliate. Both could find themselves in the big leagues later this year.

Fantasy sleeper: Edinson Volquez
"Volquez struck out 19 in 23 2/3 innings and held the opposition to a .250 batting average in four September starts. Another reason to be encouraged is that Volquez has a strong history at his new home ballpark, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. PETCO Park can also help Volquez as he looks to cut down on his home runs allowed. Volquez was plagued by the long ball in 2011, yielding 1.6 homers per nine innings." -- Michael Hurcomb [Full Padres fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Yonder Alonso
"There are a few issues heading into 2012 we need to highlight before Fantasy owners reach for Alonso on Draft Day. The first being that he is moving to pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Alonso is more of a line-drive hitter, which won't help his power numbers in San Diego. Second, Alonso is just 69 games into his MLB career. Once opposing teams get a better scouting report, the road will almost certainly get tougher for Alonso." -- Michael Hurcomb [Full Padres fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
The offensive additions bring a jolt to the Padres, with Quentin leading the way. While Petco does play big, it's not as extreme against right-handed pull hitters and he has one of the best offensive seasons we've seen in Petco. Speaking of offense, Alonso's left-handed but his natural stroke leads to a ton of doubles and with Maybin on base more often, he scores easily on so many of Alonso's two-baggers. The pitching staff benefits from the park more than the offense hurts and once again an unheralded pitching staff dominates -- led by a finally healthy Volquez -- and leads San Diego to a surprising run at the National League West title.

Pessimistic outlook
It's the same old, same old -- decent pitching at home, but not enough runs. Without scoring runs, the team slogs through another season, losing more than 90 games again. But hey, they're still in San Diego, so it's not all that bad.

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:23 am
 

Giants respond to A's press release



By Matt Snyder


The quasi-public fight between the A's and Giants has been advanced, this time from the Giants. Wednesday, we passed along a press release from the A's, where they seemed to be pleading for a shot in San Jose without outwardly saying as much.

The Giants have issued a statement in response, and they didn't pull any punches (especially when seeming to mock that the A's were bought for "just" $172 million). Here is the statement in full:
“The Commissioner has asked us to refrain from discussing the territorial rights issue publicly. Out of respect for his request, we will limit our response to setting the record straight on the history of territorial rights.

The Giants territorial rights were not granted “subject to” moving to Santa Clara County. Indeed, the A’s fail to mention that MLB’s 1990 territorial rights designation has been explicitly re-affirmed by Major League Baseball on four separate occasions. Most significantly in 1994, Major League Baseball conducted a comprehensive review and re-definition of each club’s territories. These designations explicitly provide that the Giants territory include Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin Counties and the A’s territory included Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

The MLB owners unanimously approved those designated territories and memorialized them in the MLB Constitution. Since then, the MLB Constitution has been re-affirmed by the MLB owners – including by the A’s – on three different occasions (2000, 2005 and 2008), long after the Giants won approval to build AT&T Park. Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.

The population of Santa Clara County alone represents 43% of our territory. Upon purchasing the team 20 years ago, our plan to revive the franchise relied heavily on targeting and solidifying our fan base in the largest and fastest growing county within our territory. Based on these Constitutionally-recognized territorial rights, the Giants invested hundreds of millions of dollars to save and stabilize the team for the Bay Area, built AT&T Park privately and has operated the franchise so that it can compete at the highest levels.”
This isn't going away any time soon. The A's need their stadium situation resolved and seem to desperately want San Jose. But the Giants hold territorial rights and aren't relenting. MLB has reportedly sided with the Giants thus far, but also seems to want to keep things under wraps. So the dance will continue.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:30 am
 

Injury roundup: Wright, Posey, Trout and more

By Dayn Perry

David WrightInjury news and notes from Wednesday's camps ... 

  • Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed Wednesday's contest with back tightness. As a precautionary measure, he's likely to sit out the next two to three games. [CBS Pittsburgh]

  • While Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is able to take part in some low-level baseball activities, he still has no idea when he'll return to game action or even face live pitching after suffering multiple concussions.

    "It's still a progression," he said. "We have steps that we're taking, and it's a pretty systematic approach so I don't just go do everything I want every day. My doctor lays out a plan every day, and we kind of go by that. I'm definitely better than I was four months ago, so that's good. It's never as fast as you want, but we're getting there." [Baltimore Sun

  • Boston lefty Andrew Miller, who's in the mix for a spot in the rotation, won't be traveling with the team on Thursday because of slight stiffness in his throwing elbow. [WEEI]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS


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Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 1:03 pm
 

A's release statement about relocation talks



By Matt Snyder


Earlier this week, some talk surfaced that the A's would not be able to move to San Jose due to a territorial rights issue. The reports were summed up quite nicely by my new colleague Dayn Perry in this blog entry.

Wednesday, the Oakland Athletics released the following statement:
“Recent articles claiming that Major League Baseball has decided that the A’s cannot share the two-team Bay Area market were denied by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last weekend.

Currently the Giants and A's share the two-team Bay Area market in terms of television, radio, sponsors and fans. Last year, the Giants opened a specialty store in the middle of the A's market (Walnut Creek). At the time, Lew Wolff commented that he was ‘fine with the Giants store and wished there was an A's store in San Francisco.’

Of the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A's do not share the exact same geographic boundaries. MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara. The granting of Santa Clara to the Giants was by agreement with the A’s late owner Walter Haas, who approved the request without compensation. The Giants were unable to obtain a vote to move and the return of Santa Clara to its original status was not formally accomplished.

We are not seeking a move that seeks to alter or in any manner disturb MLB territorial rights. We simply seek an approval to create a new venue that our organization and MLB fully recognizes is needed to eliminate our dependence on revenue sharing, to offer our fans and players a modern ballpark, to move over 35 miles further away from the Giants’ great venue and to establish an exciting competition between the Giants and A's.

We are hopeful that the Commissioner, the committee appointed by the Commissioner, and a vote of the MLB ownership, will enable us to join the fine array of modern and fun baseball parks that are now commonplace in Major League Baseball.”
Without coming out and specifically mentioning San Jose, the A's seem to have come out guns blazing here. They even bolded the part where they talk about moving more than 35 miles further away from the Giants, compared to where they now play. It's the lawyer way of saying, "you seriously won't let me move further away from a team because of their territorial rights?"

The A's also make great points on some of the concessions they've granted the Giants over the years. The entire release seems to be an impassioned plea to let the club move to San Jose, without coming out and saying it specifically.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, because in matters like these, we can never be sure common sense will prevail.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 9:24 pm
 

Injury roundup: Marcum, Longoria, Posey and more

By Matt Snyder

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum still has a stiff shoulder. For more, check out Danny Knobler's blog on the subject, as he's on site.

As for the rest, here's Wednesday's injury wrap:

• A's first baseman Daric Barton has been shut down for three days after requiring a second cortisone shot in his surgically-repaired shoulder. Per MLB.com, the chances of Barton making the opening-day roster are "slimming by the day."

Mets ace Johan Santana is all set for his Tuesday start against the Cardinals (ESPN New York).

• Also in Mets news, third baseman David Wright missed Monday's game with his lingering ribcage stiffness. He previously said he'd be playing if these were regular-season games but was expected to suit up and give it a go Monday. Meanwhile, Ike Davis -- who the Mets believe has Valley Fever -- is scheduled to play both Monday and Tuesday for three innings (MLB.com).

Marlins ace Josh Johnson had a 41-pitch, "pain-free" start Monday. He's moving forward slowly, but the Marlins project him atop their rotation. (MLB.com)

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was hit in the hand with a pitch last week. He was fortunate to avoid any breaks, but is still suffering from the bruise and swelling. His batting practice session was cut short Monday and he'll wait a few more days before trying again (Rays Report).

• Just one week after dislocating his kneecap, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is going to be in the lineup for his club's spring game Tuesday (AJC.com via Twitter).

Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez "likely will play" in an exhibition game later this week, but here's the big news: Buster Posey "could join him." Getting Posey into game action this early in the spring as he looks to return from a broken leg would obviously be huge. He has already been cleared to hit in a game and will likely be used as a DH at first (same with Sanchez). "We don't need setbacks. We just don't want to risk anything," said manager Bruce Bochy.

Monday night's game is on TV, but Bochy still won't risk going with Posey. "I know they [fans] want to see him. We do, too, but it's not worth the risk."

Also in Giants news, Brian Wilson will face hitters Wednesday and is scheduled to pitch in a game March 11. They are also hoping Ryan Vogelsong can throw off a mound Thursday. (All info courtesy of Knobler, who was in camp)

• New Reds closer Ryan Madson has been shut down for a few days with irritation in his throwing elbow, but he'll resume throwing Tuesday. He called it a "normal" and said it's happened to him the "past couple of years." (MLB.com)

Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez was hit in the right hand with a pitch Monday. His X-rays were negative and -- like Longoria -- has a bruised hand. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Video: Troy Tulowitzki pranks 'fan cave' finalist

By Matt Snyder

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki really had poor Shaun Kippins going. A finalist in the competition to be named to the MLB Fan Cave for the 2012 season, Kippins was interviewing Tulowitzki when he appeared to anger the All-Star shorstop. It was all a prank, and judging from Kippins' reaction at the end, it worked.

Check out the video below:



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Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:08 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 11:32 am
 

Andrew Cashner throws rather hard

Andrew CashnerBy Dayn Perry

Andrew Cashner, the 25-year-old right-hander and former Cubs first-rounder who was dealt to the Padres this offseason as part of the Anthony Rizzo swap, may yet fulfill his substantial promise. He was legendarily stingy with the home run coming up through the minors, and he boasts a fairly devastating fastball-slider combo. And then there's this: on Sunday, Cashner had a relaxing, just-stretching-the-legs, easy-breezy sort of outing against the Mariners that consisted of (apologies for the forthcoming all-caps, but it's justified) THROWING 10 FOUR-SEAMERS THAT AVERAGED 102.2 MPH.

Once more for emphasis: Cashner threw 10 pitches in his first official spring outing and averaged comfortably better than 100 mph. He topped out at 103.3, a figure that can safely be called "Aroldissian." I don't normally resort to exclamation marks, but: !.

Velocity, of course, isn't everything and we're talking about a vanishingly small sample of pitches, but if this proves sustainable then Cashner is going to be something to behold in 2012.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 10:44 am
 

A's future in Oakland uncertain



By Dayn Perry


Bill Madden of the New York Daily News raised eyebrows and hackles when he reported over the weekend that the A’s longed-for move from Oakland to San Jose would not happen. It would not happen, Madden reported, because MLB would choose not to violate the Giants’ nebulous territorial rights to the San Jose area. (Yes, there exists a world in which Oakland across the Bay is not an encroachment but San Jose, an hour or so away via the 101, is.)

An MLB source, of course, denies that any decision has been made with regard to the A’s bold step of moving farther away from the Giants, reports Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News. If, however, the smoke leads to fire, then one must ask: What will become of the A’s? Will we once again be subjected to half-serious rumors of contraction? Are the Portland/Las Vegas/San Antonio/Charlotte/New Jersey/Mexico City A’s in our future? Will the status remain quo? BizofBaseball’s Maury Brown, via Twitter, sums it up thus:

“A's: chances of contraction? 0. Chances for San Jose? Dwindling. Chances for Oakland? Low. Chance of sale? Rising.”

At which point, one assumes, the dance will continue.

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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