Tag:Winter Meetings
Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:46 pm
 

12 players taken in Rule 5 Draft

By C. Trent Rosecrans
MLB Winter Meetings

You may have missed it -- and for good reasons -- but 12 players were taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, in what usually signals the end of the winter meetings. It was the fewest number of players taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft since 2005

The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to take eligible players left unprotected on other teams' 40-man roster for $50,000. A player has to stay on a team's active Major League roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. Teams can also work out a trade with their old team to keep the player and send him to the minors. There have been some huge names selected in the Rule 5 Draft, including Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Dan Uggla, but more often than not, players don't even make it out of spring training. Chances are one or two of the 12 selected on Thursday will make it on an opening day roster, but it's unlikely any of them will stick, based on previous numbers.

But hey, it happened today and some teams got some guys -- while the Angels added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. So, who are the 12? Here we go, listed by their new team and their old team in parentheses:

Astros: RHP Rhiner Cruz (Mets) -- A reliever, Cruz when 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.89 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Twins: RHP Terry Doyle (White Sox) -- Doyle went 8-10 at High-A and Double-A with a 3.07 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 122 and walking 33 in 173 innings.

Mariners: LHP Lucas Luetge (Brewers) -- In his second year in Double-A, he struck out exactly a batter an inning and finsihed with a 3.13 ERA.

Orioles: 2B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) -- A former first-rounder, the left-handed hitter hit .305/.384/.523 with 14 homers at Double-A, but then struggled at Triple-A, hitting .237/.277/.399 with five home runs.

Yankees: LHP Cesar Cabral (Red Sox) -- Actually picked by the Royals, but traded to the Yankees for cash, Cabral struck out 70 batters in 55 innings, walking 21. He was 3-4 overall in 36 games in relief with a 2.95 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Cubs: RHP Lendy Castillo (Phillies) -- A former infielder, Castillo started two of his 21 games at Low-A Lakewood in 2011, going 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 46 batters in as many innings.

Pirates: SS Gustavo Nunez (Tigers) -- The switch-hitter hit a combined .276/.333/.386 at High-A and Double-A, but struggled at the higher level.

Braves: LHP Robert Fish (Angels) -- Fish throws 95 mph and struck out 44 batters in 33 1/3 innings in Rookie ball and Double-A. Most of his time was spent at Double-A where he was 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA and two saves.

Cardinals: OF Erik Komatsu (Nationals) -- The Nationals acquired the speedy outfielder in the middle of 2011. He hit a combined .277/.367/.382 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases between two different Double-A teams. 

Red Sox: SS Marwin Gonzalez (Cubs) -- The switch-hitter hit .288/.343/.400 with 30 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A. 

Diamondbacks: RHP Brett Lorin (Pirates) -- The 24-year-old stands 6-foot-7 and went 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA at High-A Bradenton, striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings.

Yankees: RHP Brad Meyers (Nationals) --  The starter pitched at three different levels in 2011, the majority coming at Triple-A, where he was 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA and struck out 74 in 95 2/3 innings.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Angels swoop in, steal Marlins thunder -- for now



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- In one fell swoop, the Miami Marlins had their thunder stolen.

First, let's set the scene.

The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings always come to a close on a Thursday. In most years, the hotel lobby is hopping like mad for Monday through Wednesday but is a veritable ghost town come post-lunch time Thursday. There's the Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning, and by late afternoon most writers are either already home or preparing to fly out.

At about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the Marlins were the huge story of the Winter Meetings. Not only had they landed a trio of All-Stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell -- committing $191 million in future payroll to the three -- but they were also attached to rumors on Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and sometimes even Prince Fielder throughout the week. When Marlins' brass Jeffrey Loria, Larry Beinfest and David Samson walked through the lobby earlier in the week, a flock of reporters and cameramen were following them like paparazzi clings to Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. New manager Ozzie Guillen had a Joker-like permanent smile on his face. The Marlins were, as one writer remarked on Twitter, the "belles of the ball."

MLB Winter Meetings
Thursday morning, however, the Angels went out and signed the biggest name in baseball: Albert Pujols. Then, within minutes, they added All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. New Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto held a press conference to announce both signings and field questions.

And when everyone leaves the meetings for good, the top team that will stick out in everyone's mind is the Los Angeles Angels, not the Miami Marlins.

This was not what owner Jeffrey Loria wanted. This was supposed to be the Marlins' time. They are moving into a new stadium that they'd waited on for years. They have a new name and new uniforms. They want people to buy them as legitimate contenders and take them seriously. They very well could be contenders and might be transforming into a legitimate large-market team, but the thunder of the three signings has been completely stolen by the already-large-market Angels swooping in and getting a bigger star position player and a better starting pitcher than the Marlins landed.

Will this anger the Marlins, causing them to go hard after Prince Fielder -- a player most reported was not on their radar at this time Wednesday? It's hard to tell.

But for now, the Marlins get second billing at these Winter Meetings. The Angels were the top dog.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Angels now boast stellar starting rotation



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- While the big news of the Winter Meetings was the Angels adding superstar Albert Pujols via free agency, they also made a big splash on the pitching front, adding C.J. Wilson with a five-year contract. Now, the Angels boast a top four in the rotation that is likely the envy of the entire American League. Just look at the AL Cy Young balloting for last season. Jered Weaver finished second to the Tigers' Justin Verlander -- who had a historic season -- while Wilson came in sixth and Dan Haren was seventh. Ervin Santana's no slouch, either. The Angels now have to be mentioned in the same breath as the Giants and Phillies when it comes to lock-down, top-to-bottom rotations.

The Angels ranked fifth in starting pitching ERA in 2011 for the entire MLB. And they're now replacing Joel Pineiro (5.13 ERA) with Wilson (2.94 ERA).

"I know Jered and Dan, and those are good dudes," Wilson said Thursday. "I haven't talked to Santana yet, but I will. We're gonna push each other to make each other better."

"I know back in Texas, pitching with so many other good pitchers, it was incentive to compete and get better," he continued. "It makes you want to work harder and do your part."

Wilson certainly did his part during the 2011 season, going 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was 2.31. His career numbers in Angel Stadium of Anaheim -- a big-time pitcher's park the past two seasons -- are good, too. Wilson has thrown 38 1/3 innings there, putting together a 2.79 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 32 strikeouts. One of his five starts there was a complete-game effort, too.

MLB Winter Meetings
As for his new teammates? Not too shabby ...

Weaver, 29, was the All-Star Game starter for the AL in 2011. He went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings. Haren, 31, was 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 238 1/3 innings. Santana, 28, was 11-12 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 228 2/3 innings.

Add it up, and you have a rotation that can work deep into the game and give you a great chance to win four out of every five games. The four combined for 15 complete games, seven shutouts and over 900 innings last year alone. As for the fifth starter, it's likely Jerome Williams, but does that even matter? The bullpen will be so well-rested 80 percent of the games that they'll be able to bail out Williams any time he needs it. Mike Scioscia may even grow bored in the dugout as he sits back and watches his big four eat innings night-in, night-out.

And it's not just the innings. It's the overall value to the ballclub.

According to Baseball-Reference.com's wins above replacement stat, the front four starters of the new Angels' rotation were worth 18.7 wins more than a replacement-level player last season. By comparison, the Phillies vaunted "four aces" had a combined WAR of 21.4. The Giants' top four? Just 14.8.

So while the Angels may not have the top three the Phillies do, they certainly have every bit of an elite starting rotation. Considering Pujols just got added to the offense, the rest of the American League has plenty to fear.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:07 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:11 am
 

Astros hire Luhnow as new GM

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Houston Astros have made their big move of the Winter Meetings, which is hiring a new general manager. They have decided on Jeff Luhnow, according to the ballclub's official Twitter feed. A formal announcement will be made Thursday.

Luhnow has been the Cardinals vice president of amateur scouting and player procurement for the Cardinals since September of 2006.

“We are very pleased to have Jeff as the new General Manager of the Houston Astros,” Astros CEO George Postolos said in a statement. “Jeff is the perfect fit for the Astros because of his track record in scouting and player development during his eight-plus seasons with the Cardinals.

Astros transitions
“The Astros strive to develop one of the best systems in baseball and create a consistent winner at the Major League level. Jeff has the knowledge, skills and experience to lead the baseball operations efforts at all levels and help the Astros achieve this vision. Jeff has a demonstrated the ability to inspire and motivate staff in the front office and out in the field. He was born and raised in Mexico and his bicultural background will be an asset in recruiting players from Latin America and developing the Hispanic market for Los Astros.”

Dave Gottfried, who was the assistant GM under former GM Ed Wade, had been serving as the interim general manager. He was never a candidate to get the full-time job, though.

The hiring ends a 10-day search by Postolos and new owner Jim Crane.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:46 am
 

Francisco Rodriguez accepts arbitration



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has accepted arbitration, the MLB Players Association has announced via press release. This means he'll stay with the Brewers on a one-year deal. Last season, Rodriguez made over $12 million, so he's likely due a modest raise through the arbitration process.

With no World Series championship to show for 2011, it might be fair to say the Brewers' midseason trade for K-Rod has now backfired, to an extent. He's a special Type-A free agent in this new CBA agreement, so the Brewers would have gained a compensatory draft pick had he left. Not only that, they'd have that eight figures of payroll free to use elsewhere. Now, they are going to have a very expensive eighth-inning pitcher.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

It is worth noting that the Brewers could trade Rodriguez. A situation like this happened a few years ago when Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves, who then traded him to the Rays.

Rodriguez, 29, is a four-time All-Star and holds the single-season record for saves with 62 (2008). After being traded to the Brewers, he was dominant, putting together a 1.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 29 innings. He also had a baserunner strand rate of over 80 percent.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Tigers, Octavio Dotel nearing deal



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- The Detroit Tigers are closing in on a deal with free agent relief pitcher Octavio Dotel, sources have told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Dotel wanted to play for a winner, so re-signing in St. Louis would have worked, just as going to the defending AL Central champion Tigers fits the bill.

Dotel, 38, split last season between the Blue Jays and Cardinals, moving to St. Louis in a three-team trade that involved Edwin Jackson and Colby Rasmus, among others. In all, he had a 3.50 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 54 innings. Opponents only hit .181 off him and he stranded 68.7 percent of baserunners.

MLB Winter Meetings
Adding Dotel gives the Tigers a very strong back-end of the bullpen, with Dotel, Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit setting up for closer Jose Valverde.

Dotel was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent all the way back in 1993. The Tigers will become Dotel's 13th team as a big leaguer. He played parts of five seasons for the Astros, but was with no other team for more than two. His stint in St. Louis lasted just a few months, but he did get his first World Series ring.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Reyes stays positive about Mets' lack of interest



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes was officially introduced as a member of the Miami Marlins in a Wednesday press conference, yet most of the questions he fielded were about his old team: The New York Mets.

Reyes played parts of nine seasons with the Mets, racking up 735 runs, 370 steals, 99 triples and four All-Star trips. He led the NL in triples four times, steals three times, hits once and batting average once. He was a frontrunner for the NL MVP before falling injured in 2011.

Yet Reyes revealed that the Mets never really made what he considered a serious deal. When a reporter mentioned the Mets never having made a "concrete" offer, Reyes did not dispute the notion. Simply, at least from the perspective of Reyes, the Mets just let him walk away without a fight.

"The Mets didn't call, they didn't say anything, so that's why I'm here today," he said.

Yet instead of talking bad about his former club, Reyes was nothing but gracious.

"I'm not going to say disappointed because they have their choices," Reyes said, while wearing his new Marlins' jersey. "I was a free agent. But like I say, I have to appreciate the Mets for giving me the opportunity to play in the Big Leagues. Right now I'm playing for the Miami Marlins, so I'm part of this family now, so I have to move on."

In addition to the Mets' seeming lack of a legitimate offer, Reyes was also very taken with how much more the Marlins seemed to covet his services. They met with him the literal minute they were allowed to.

MLB Winter Meetings
"Those guys, they came from Miami to see me at 12:01 [a.m., the night they were officially allowed to do so]," Reyes said. "So that was huge for me. They told me from that time they want me there."

Since 2004, Reyes has played on the left side of the infield with fellow All-Star David Wright. Reyes took the opportunity Wednesday to wish his friend well.

"I wish all the best for him," Reyes said of Wright. "He's a great player, and I think he's going to be fine because he's the guy who works hard every day. Last year has been a tough year for him because he got hurt, but I think he's going to be bounce back this year. So hopefully he'll have a good year."

All in all, Reyes was all smiles and positivity, despite having been shown the door by the only team he's ever known. Evidently that's what a nine-figure contract will do for you.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Angels 'pushing hard' for Wilson, Marlins in, too



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- The Angels are pushing hard to try to sign free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson, with the goal of getting something done before the Winter Meetings end Thursday, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Knobler has also learned the Marlins have offered Wilson a six-year contract. [UPDATE: The Marlins have signed Mark Buehrle. Unbelievably, sources have told Knobler that they are still in on the bidding for Wilson.]

Wilson has long been a favorite of new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, and the team has been pursuing him since last month's general managers meetings. The Marlins have also pursued Wilson, and some believed that he would be their first backup choice if Albert Pujols decides to stay in St. Louis, which seems entirely possible.

MLB Winter Meetings
The Rangers talked regularly to Wilson's agent, but it was always believed that they would be willing to see him sign elsewhere.

Wilson, 31, is a California native. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 233 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was a sparkling 2.31. On the flip-side, Wilson had a bad showing in the postseason and has only been a starting pitcher for two years.

As for the Marlins, we know they're serious about throwing money around, so it's not surprising they've gone with a big offer.

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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