Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:15 pm
 

Manny just the latest A's retread



By C. Trent Rosecrans


The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.

But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.

In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.

Manny RamirezUsually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.

Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.

Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72

* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent

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


Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:45 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 4:50 pm
 

Beltran gives former teammate a nosejob

Jonathan Niese

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It's not unusual to hear of teammates giving each other gifts -- from watches to cars and just about everything in between. But this is a new one.

Carlos Beltran, now a Cardinal, got Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese a new nose.

Yep, Beltran paid for Niese's nose job this offseason after making a playful barb that Niese needed a new nose. Beltran went so far as to offer to pay for it, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

"He wanted me to have a new nose," Niese told Rubin. "So he offered to pay for it. I was just like, 'All right.' Then it turned into seeing doctors and to getting it fixed."

The picture above, is clearly the "before."

The surgery may have also been a performance-enhancer for the 25-year-old left-hander. He said the surgery has helped him breathe better.

"It's helped a lot with my running," Niese said. "It helps with my working out. As far as the mound, I'm not sure."

Niese was 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games and 26 starts last season, striking out 138 batters in 157 1/3 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 20, 2012 2:22 pm
 

Rivera on retirement: 'I know,' but won't say



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Mariano Rivera arrived at Yankees camp a day later than the rest of the Yankees' pitchers and catchers report and he said he has a decision about if he will report next year -- he's just not going to share that decision.

"I know now," Rivera told reporters (via ESPNNewYork.com). "I just don't want to tell you. I know now. I will let you guys know when I think I should tell you."

When? "I will tell you that in October, maybe," he said.

Rivera's age may now match his jersey number (42), but if he decides to hang them up after this season, chances are it's not just some kind of victory lap celebration. Even entering his 18th big-league season, Rivera is among the game's elite closers. Last season he finished with 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA in 64 games. He struck out 60 in 61 1/3 innings, while walking just eight batters. His WHIP was 0.89 last season and stands at 0.998 for his career. He also broke Trevor Hoffman's career saves record last season and now owns the all-time mark with 603 -- a number that should only grow this season (and maybe beyond).

Rivera is in the second year of a two-year, $30 million deal signed following the 2010 season.

"It is hard when you have the ability to continue and you have to make that decision," Rivera told reporters, including ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand. "It's hard. For me, baseball is not everything.

"There are a lot more things than baseball. I've been blessed. I've had a great career, but at the same time there are a lot of other things to do."

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


Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:53 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 2:25 pm
 

Manny Ramirez to sign with A's

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Manny Ramirez and the A's have agreed to a minor-league deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports. Ramirez will earn $500,000 with the big-league club, according to Heyman.

Ramirez, 39, will be suspended the first 50 games of the A's season, but will be able to take part in spring training. Ramirez missed all of last season after a positive drug test resulted in his second violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy. He had his 100-game suspension reduced to 50 after sitting out all of last season. He played in just five games for the Rays before his suspension.

He will not be paid during his suspension. The A's 51st game is June 2 at Kansas City.

Ramirez will be 40 on May 30.

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

Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:06 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 4:48 pm
 

Kinsler says he didn't see Hamilton drinking

By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the most surprising things about the recent relapse by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was that he involved a teammate, Ian Kinsler, in his night of drinking.

On Sunday, Kinsler spoke publicly for the first time since Hamilton's Jan. 30 night out. He said he didn't see Hamilton drinking that night.

"Josh is taking care of it," Kinsler said, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He's open and up-front about it, it's not really my place to talk about it. I know I was there for part of the night. I've kind of gotten over it. I'm focused on the season. I support Josh. I'm completely supportive of him. I think all of his teammates are and all the coaches are. We're going to be here for him and whatever he needs."

Kinsler said he's heard the rumors that he was drinking with Hamilton, but said he's not concerned about it.

"I was there. I know what happened," he said. "People can say what they think was happening or what they want to say about the situation. There were, seriously, eight people in that bar. I don't know how many people were focused on us. We weren't out in the middle of the bar."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:41 pm
 

Empire State Building honors Gary Carter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If you're in New York Friday night, take a gander at the Empire State Building. If you're not in New York, check it out here:

Empire State Building

The building's lights are shining orange and blue in honor of Hall of Famer Gary Carter, a former Met who died on Thursday at the age of 57.

A fantastic tribute and one befitting Carter.

The photo is from Tom Kaminski of WCBS 880 in New York (via @Mets)

Hat-tip: Big League Stew

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:13 pm
 

NFL lineman helped Matt Kemp get in top shape



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With pitchers and catchers reporting this weekend, there will be a slew of reports about players coming into camp in great shape -- either having lost weight or put on muscle. The only thing we'll see more of than these reports people on Twitter and on blogs mocking those reports thinking they're making an original point about these kind of stories by making tired jokes.

One of these stories came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday, as the AP talked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp about his offseason training. Kemp attributed much of his success last season to his offseason workouts at Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kemp dropped 15 pounds before going to camp last year and went on to an MVP-type season. What caused an editor to send me a link to the article was the hook that Zone is owned by an NFL player, who worked out alongside Kemp. What caught my eye was that NFL player was Eagles guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis isn't exactly a household name, despite the fact that ProFootballFocus.com ranked him the No. 1 guard in the NFL last season. But I covered Mathis both in college at Alabama and in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and got to know him a little bit. So, with that as a starting point, I emailed Mathis about working with Kemp and he agreed to answer a couple of questions about his work with Kemp, as well as with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox.

Any doubt Mathis knows what he's talking about? Check out this photo of what he did during the NFL lockout:

Evan Mathis

Q: How'd you hook up with Matt Kemp?
A: We met six or seven years ago at a now-defunct training facility.

Q: Do you follow baseball at all, did you know much about him?
A: When we first met, he hadn't been in the majors yet.

Q: So after working with Matt last offseason, how closely did you follow him last year?
A: He was pretty much Zone Athletic Performance's first professional athlete client. As soon as we opened he was in there training preparing for his 2011 season. I definitely followed him throughout the season watching his hard work and dedication pay off.

Q: I'm sure you were happy with his success, but where you surprised?
A: Not at all.  The two trainers at Zone who handle our professional athletes, Garrett Shinoskie and Adam Mathis, have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to bringing the best out of an athlete. When you combine that with a player who has the drive and determination that Matt has, it's destined for success.

Q: What's the difference between working with baseball players and working with football players?
A: I'm not the one writing the programs but it is definitely different. But so is training an offensive lineman and a safety. Everybody has different strengths, weakness, goals, and requirements.  All of that goes into the formula for devising anyone's most efficient workout program.

Q: Are there any similarities?
A: Indeed there are some similarities. Most baseball and football players can benefit greatly from developing explosion through their hips.

Q: You mention the hips, that seems to make sense -- it's something you hear from all coaches. Hips seem to be an underrated part of the body to work on, but it makes sense because it's close to your center of gravity and controls everything in both the top and bottom half of the body. What kind of specific things do you do to strengthen that part of the body?
A: In baseball it's more about rotating the hips. A player can make an explosive rotation and put their strength behind the swing. For myself in football, when I hit a defender I explode through my hips and lift their center of gravity on contact. Some simple hip exercises include the medicine ball keg toss, kettle bell swing, step-ups, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of training for hip explosion is maintaining ones flexibility. At Zone, the trainers use the first ten minutes of each workout to do stretches and warm-ups to ensure maximum flexibility.

Q: Not giving away any secrets, but what's a typical workout like for an elite-level pro athlete? What about the diet?
A: Off-season training at Zone usually consists of 6 day weeks, each workout an hour long.  The average schedule is like this: Monday = arms, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = core/conditioning, Thursday = torso, Friday = power, Saturday = core/conditioning. Each day has different dietary guidelines based on that day's workload.

Q: What's the most important thing you teach at Zone?
A: In a close second to the training is the diet.  Most athletes have no idea how to follow efficient nutritional guidelines. An athlete has to treat their body like a machine and put the best fuels into that machine that will maximize its production. I still have Garrett write out my diet because I'm not the expert in that field and he is.

Q: What kind of diet tip do you have for anyone out there?
A: The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of carbohydrates. When used the right way, they can feed your muscles to maximum growth and help you maintain a high metabolism. My diet is a carb cycling diet. Based on the intensity of each day's training I will have either a high, medium, or low intake of carbs for that day. A lot of people try the low or no carb diets but that's like trying to drive a car with no gasoline. Your body needs its carbs. Getting into the details of the carb cycle would turn this response into an essay. There are numerous articles on the web about it and the trainers at Zone are actually working on an eBook guide as we speak.

Q: Any workout tips?
A: Change your routine every three-to-four weeks, don't stick to the same lifts for long periods of time. Every three weeks at Zone we have a completely new set of workouts. This aids in injury prevention, avoids training plateaus, and ensures that all muscle groups are getting their necessary attention.

Q: Often when a player starts camp and says they're "in the best shape of their life" people kind of roll their eyes and make a joke out of it. Does it matter or is it just talk?
A: Being in the best shape of your life definitely does matter for an athlete. There are two problems when it comes to an athlete saying that. The first is whether or not it's true when they say it. The second is, while it may be true, some guys won't work to maintain it throughout the season. Kemp stayed in constant contact with the trainers at Zone making sure he was doing everything he could to carry over all of the hard work he did throughout the season. I said I was in the best shape of my life going into last season and it definitely showed on the field.  I had a great year and it gave me a great starting point for this off-season to get in even better shape for 2012.


Q: Are you a baseball fan at all? Do you have any baseball background?
A: Growing up I was always a baseball fan. I was an avid card collector, a huge Frank Thomas fan, and I played a little baseball from ages 12-17. I still dabble in card collecting and can tell you almost any player's rookie year from 1986-2003. I tell Matt Kemp every day I see him that we need to go to the field so I can show him how to crush a ball. He thinks that it would be easier for him to crossover to football than it would be for me to go to baseball. I'm confident that I would crush a few bombs in BP if given the chance.

Check out the attached picture of a tweet between myself and Frank Thomas. I have to make something like this happen one day.


For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:27 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:45 pm
 

Report: Uehara trade could lead to Oswalt signing

Roy Oswalt

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Rangers' possible trade of reliever Koji Uehara may be enough to give the team enough salary relief to go ahead and sign free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Oswalt had reportedly favored signing with the Rangers, but after shelling out big bucks for Yu Darvish, the Rangers didn't have enough left in their budget for what has been rumored to be his $10-million demand.

However, since Oswalt hasn't found a team that was on his wish list with enough money to meet his demands, he may have lessened those. Uehara is scheduled to make $4 million this season and has reportedly used his limited no-trade clause to nix two trades this offseason.

Wilson writes the Rangers may be looking for a utility infielder in return for Uehara, with the A's preferring to deal Adam Rosales rather than Eric Sogard.

Oswalt, 34, met with the Rangers last month and it is believed he told them he only wanted to start, not come out of the bullpen. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA for the Phillies last season in 23 starts. He was twice put on the disabled list because of lower back problems.

The Rangers have said they wanted to move move Neftali Feliz in the rotation, but he -- or another starter -- could find themselves back in the bullpen if Oswalt signs. The team signed Joe Nathan this winter and he will close if Feliz starts.

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