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Tag:Nationals
Posted on: November 18, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Nationals doctors say Ramos in 'terrific' shape

Wilson RamosBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Wilson Ramos was back in the United States on Friday, but will return to Venezuela in time to play Tuesday night, he said in a brief statement to reporters after a visit to Nationals Park on Friday.

Ramos came to Washington DC to visit with team doctors and front office personnel following his kidnapping last week in his native Venezula.

"It was great, seeing him happy," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a news conference (via the Washington Post.) "He had a big smile on his face like he usually does. We sat down, relaxed, talked baseball. It'll be all baseball from here on out."

Rizzo said the doctors told him Ramos was in "terrific" shape. He also said the team wouldn't prevent their Venezuelan-born players from playing winter ball in the country. Ramos is scheduled to play for Tigres de Aragua.

"I had no second thoughts," Rizzo said. "He plays for his country, in his country. He's very prideful about his country, and he feels safe there. He plays for his country. He plays in front of his family. We can't ask him not to do that."

Ramos didn't take questions at the news conference, but did make a brief statement (via MASNSports.com): "I just want to say, 'Thanks, Nats fans, for your prayers and your support.' I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be with my family, and see you in spring training."

And speaking as a baseball fan, it was great to see Ramos and we can't wait to see him safe and sound in spring training.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 11:46 am
 

Cubs reportedly join list of Mark Buehrle suitors

By Matt Snyder

With the White Sox likely rebuilding and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle's hometown Cardinals not needing another starter, it would seem that Buehrle's services are completely up for grabs. Earlier Tuesday night we reported that the Nationals were among the teams vying for the services of free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle. Previously, Buehrle has been connected to the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox in rumors. The Marlins are another team hot on his trail, as Buehrle visited the new ballpark in Miami last week and Marlins management met with Buehrle's agent Tuesday -- and they are reportedly optimistic as the chances of signing him (Fish Tank blog). It's been reported that Buehrle would enjoy playing for Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen again. It has also been reported Buehrle would like to stay in the midwest, and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com is now reporting that the Cubs have had "multiple discussions" with Buehrle's agent.

Buehrle, 32, has spent his entire professional career in the White Sox organization. The four-time All-Star has an amazing track record of durability, racking up 11 consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts and 200 innings. This past season he went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 205 1/3 innings pitched.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:31 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Tuesday rumor roundup from GM Meetings

By Matt Snyder

With baseball's annual general manager meetings taking place in Milwaukee, there are many rumors floating around. Here's what CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler -- who is there -- heard Tuesday.

• The Yankees have met with Bob Garber, who is the agent for free agent starting pitchers C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt. The two sides are in preliminary discussions about both players, but several other teams are obviously still in play.

• The Red Sox are going to interview an unnamed candidate for a second time. Dale Sveum is also getting a second interview and several have speculated he's the front-runner.

• The Nationals need a center fielder and some other pieces, but are primarily focusing on one veteran starting pitcher. They're in on Wilson, Oswalt and Mark Buehrle. And we know they aren't shy when it comes to spending money (Exhibit A: Jayson Werth). Adding one of these guys to a rotation with young guns Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann would give the Nats a very strong rotation. The Nationals also wouldn't rule out any of the big-name offensive free agents (Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes), but it's much more likely they go pitching.

• The Orioles don't have near as much money to spend as some people thought they'd have. "We have to be smarter and work harder," new general manager Dan Duquette said. It looks like a payroll in the range of $90 million, which is an increase, but not a gigantic one. They opened last season with just over $85 million in player salaries.

• The Brewers have big reservations on signing Rafael Furcal and probably can't make a serious run at Jose Reyes, so don't be surprised if they bring back Yuniesky Betancourt to play shortstop. Also, Knobler told me it sounds like "the longest of longshots" Prince Fielder is back next season.

• Expect the owners to approve the sale of the Astros Thursday, and the move will also result in the Astros moving to the American League, starting in 2013. This will result in two 15-team leagues and interleague play all season.

• The Collective Bargaining Agreement will not be announced during the meetings. It will come Friday at the earliest, but don't worry, it's going to get done.

Here are some other notes from the meetings, compiled from other reporters:

• The Mets won't likely offer a six-year contract to Jose Reyes, Andy Martino of the Daily News reports. This isn't all too surprising but it's worth noting because the Marlins have reportedly offered Reyes six years and $90 million.

• The Reds are one of many teams that have contacted the Braves about All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens, but it's going to take "a ton" to land him, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com.

David Ortiz really wants to stay in Boston and will let the Red Sox match any offer he gets on the open market (Boston Herald).

Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays, Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, and Mets are all suitors for free agent closer Francisco Cordero. He's been a bit overshadowed in this free agency class by the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell and Ryan Madson, but Cordero has some serious pedigree as a closer. Only Mariano Rivera has more career saves among active players than Cordero.

• The Twins are interested in Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, and that interest would heighten if Michael Cuddyer signs elsewhere (Star Tribune).

Hat-tips: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks, Royals interested in Oswalt

Oswalt

By Evan Brunell


Roy Oswalt appears to be a popular man.

Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, is expected to meet with the Royals to discuss the righty on Tuesday or Wednesday, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.

But Oswalt will have competition. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro says the Diamondbacks are interested in Oswalt. Add in the Nationals and Phillies, who displayed prior interest, and the market is heating up for Oswalt. It would come as no surprise if other teams were in the hunt or eventually entered it.

The 34-year-old made 23 starts this past season, checking in with a 3.69 ERA for the Phillies. He missed time due to back problems and has also considered retirement, so he won't be looking for a long-term deal. He'll have to compromise on whatever deal he gets, though. Teams aren't going to guarantee tens of millions of dollars to Oswalt, not after his back problem was a significant problem in 2011. In addition, Oswalt isn't the same pitcher he once was. He's no longer an ace and better fits in as the No. 2 or 3 starter on a staff. Any deal will likely be incentive-laden, giving Oswalt money based on his ability to stay on the field.

The Royals are aggressive this winter in looking for pitching, already trading for Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. But the team needs more, and Oswalt would be a solid veteran presence. But is he really interested in playing for the Royals, who aren't thought to be contenders in 2012? While the future is bright in K.C., it's still far enough in the future that Oswalt may prefer a team closer to contending. Of the other teams to display interest, the Diamondbacks more closely fit that profille -- but can 'Zona pony up the dollars to sign Oswalt?

While Oswalt's market is heating up, don't expect a resolution anytime soon. Oswalt's better served by waiting things out as its likely his market would only improve. Teams such as the Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees could jump in the fray at any moment, and would certainly look into Oswalt should they strike out on their top pitching targets.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Agent: Ivan Rodriguez accepting of backup role

Ivan RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Ivan Rodriguez wants to play long enough to get to 3,000 hits, but his agent said he understands he's a backup at this point in his career.

Rodriguez, who will turn 40 later this month, is 156 hits from 3,000 -- a number that could take several years as a backup to accomplish. Last season in Washington, he managed just 27 hits, a year after 106 in 111 games.

"I know Pudge wants to get to 3,000 hits, that's an important dimension for him," Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. "I think it's clear [he] understands [he's] not going to be an everyday player."

Boras said his client has "received a high-level of interest" on the market, including his last team, the Nationals. Kilgore also notes the Twins, who drafted Rodriquez's son, Dereck, as another possibility.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 5:37 pm
 

Wilson Ramos to play Wednesday in Venezuela

RamosBy Evan Brunell

Despite recently being abducted by kidnappers and safely rescued by police this past week, Wilson Ramos intends to suit up for a Venezuelan baseball team on Wednesday, MASN writes.

Citing a tweet from Ramos' PR representative, Marfa Mata, Ramos will make his winterball debut on Wednesday and intends to play in at least a few games to show the fans his appreciation for their support during his abduction.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Baseball's worst contracts, zombie-style

Werth, zombie

By Evan Brunell

What are the worst contracts in baseball?

Some of them are pretty easy. The names of Vernon Wells and Barry Zito, for example, have been synonymous with horrible contracts. Others aren't as easy to ferret out, but here's one man's look at the 10 worst contracts currently in baseball. To help us figure out which contracts are awful, I turned to a TV show that knows all about things awful: The Walking Dead. Because obviously, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world is completely comparable to the onerous contracts some teams are saddled with.

There are three categories below, inspired by scenes from The Walking Dead that are linked for your viewing enjoyment and quotes, which aren't necessarily tied to the scene in the video. (Don't worry, no spoilers, but if you haven't seen the most recent episode, skip the scene in the last category anyways.) Be warned: If you are squeamish, it's best if you don't click through. Unless you're interested in giving your wastebasket the remnants of your most recent meal.

STILL KICKING

Walking Dead scene
"It's a waste of time, all this hoping and praying." -- Daryl (season 2, episode 2)

These players are nearing the end of their awful deals, like a zombie with no legs. Just like a zombie with no legs would keep crawling along trying to eat humans alive, so do these players keep on kicking. While their contracts don't look too bad given they're of the short-term variety at this point, there's no denying that these players are still of the undead. The years remaining on the contract to qualify for this list is two or less seasons. Also, this list does not include players who were released and are still owed money, such as Aaron Rowand, due $13.6 million by the Giants in 2012.

BayJason Bay, Mets
Contract: 4 years, $66 million, $16.5 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $39.25 million (includes 2014's $3 million buyout)

The Red Sox thought they had Bay locked up to a deal to stay in town, but Bay balked at medical contingencies in the contract, designed to protect Boston in case Bay's knees went. That allowed the Mets to swoop in on a deal they quickly regretted, as Bay's bat vanished in Citi Field, then struggled with concussions as his batting line in 2011 sank all the way to .245/.329/.374 with 12 homers in 509 plate appearances. Even though the club is set to move in its fences, it's tough to see Bay bouncing back and earning the rest of his deal which could potentially stretch through 2014. If Bay can reach 500 PA in 2012 and '13 -- a cinch as long as he stays relatively healthy, or 600 PAs in 2013, a $17 million club option vests. That would make this deal look even worse.

LeeCarlos Lee, Astros
Contract: 6 years, $100 million, $16.67 million AAV. Remaining: 1 year, $19 million

The Astros' impending move to the AL East for the 2013 season is coming one year too late. Lee's contract is finally due to expire next season, and one has to imagine that Lee will be the last man in a long time to receive $100-plus million for being such a one-dimensional slugger that can't even hit bombs anymore unless the Crawford boxes in left help him out. At this point, Lee is taking up space that could be better allocated to young players on a rebuilding club. Lee should have been dumped in a deal by now, but he has no interest in leaving Houston and has no-trade rights.

SantanaJohan Santana, Mets
Contract: 6 years, $137.5 million, $22.9 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $55 million (includes 2014's $5.5 million buyout)

Santana's never really bandied about as a person with a lousy contract, but the numbers are simply stunning. After the Mets gave up a bounty (of nothingness, as it turned out) to acquire the best starter in the game from the Twins way back in 2008, Santana has given the Mets one season of transcendence. Since then, it's been a whole bunch of injuries, causing the lefty to sit out all of 2011. That means over the last three seasons, Santana's contributed just 54 starts. And it gets worse, as his deal is backloaded for an incredible $55 million coming the next two years, and no guarantee Santana can even approximate the pitcher he once was after undergoing surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his left shoulder. New York holds a $25 million option for 2014 that can become guaranteed based on innings pitched and finish in award voting.

ZitoBarry Zito, Giants
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $46 million (includes 2014's $7 million buyout)

This contract is so bad, even the buyout of Zito's team option in 2014 is horrible. The Giants might be paying Zito $7 million simply to go away. Being paid like an ace, he's been the team's No. 5 starter the last two season and will hold that role again in 2012. The selling point to Zito, despite the regression back to being a league-average player, is the fact he can chew up innings. One problem: the 2014 option vests automatically if Zito pitches at least 200 innings in 2013 or 400 between 2012-13. That's very feasible if the Giants keep him on his regular turn through the rotation, so he might have $18 million in 2014 headed his way.

NOT SO PRETTY

Walking Dead scene
"You don't know what it's like out there. You may think you do but you don't. It's only a matter of time. There's too many of those things. My boy, my wife, I never told them what I really thought. I never even hinted, just, just kept it in, kept us moving, kept it in, kept us moving." -- Rick (season 1, episode 6)

Little girls are cute... except when they're trying to tear your flesh off. Just as in the Walking Dead, baseball has its share of onerous, undead contracts that once looked pretty but now eat up as much payroll space as they can. Here are the worst deals left with less than five years remaining.

LackeyJohn Lackey, Red Sox
Contract
: 5 years, $82.5 million, $16.5 million average annual value (AAV). Remaining: 3 years, $47.85 million

Even though he has yet to reach the halfway mark of his deal, this contract already ranks as one of the worst in baseball history. The Red Sox thought they were getting a fiery, innings-eating No. 2 starter. Instead, what they've received is one of the worst pitchers in the game who shows up his teammates on the field. And now he'll be missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. That means, through three years of the deal, Lackey will have given Boston a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts. The only saving value to this deal is the surgery will kick in an additional year at the league minimum Lackey must play at, which will drag down his AAV and give Boston a couple extra million below the luxury tax to play with.

SorianoAlfonso Soriano, Cubs
Contract: 8 years, $136 million, $17 million AAV. Remaining: 3 years, $57 million

Soriano has kept up his home-run production since moving to Chicago, but his bat has slowed to the point where he's lucky if he cracks the .250 barrier in batting average. That wouldn't be such a big deal if the man knew how to take a walk once in a while, but he doesn't, as evidenced by his .289 OBP. New Cubs president Theo Epstein is going to be taking a lot of heart medicine these next three seasons as he watches Soriano clank balls in left field and stifle rallies with his inability to draw a walk. The Cubs appear as if they're going to enter a retooling period, so at least Soriano isn't holding them back from contending. But then again, that's exactly what he's done to Chicago the last couple years.
 
WellsVernon Wells, Angels
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 3 years, $72.96 million

Patience, Jerry Dipoto. Just keep telling yourself it's just three years. Dipoto, the new Angels GM, will have a challenge to build a winning club that includes Wells and his yoke of a contract that doesn't even tell the full story. For crying out loud, Wells is slated to receive $24.6 million each of the next three seasons. For comparison, only Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard will earn more on a AAV basis than Wells will receive through the end of his contract. Back when the deal was signed, Wells was poised to be one of the best players in the game moving forward. Now? He's essentially Alfonso Soriano, but with a much worse deal. How someone can have an OBP under .250 and still collect over 500 plate appearances is baffling. It will be a shock if Wells can finish out the deal without being released.

GUTS EVERYWHERE

Walking Dead scene
"Good thing we didn't do anything stupid like shoot it." -- T-Dog being sarcastic (season 2, episode 4)


These contracts are the worst of the worst. It's almost like being a zombie stuck in a water well for weeks, then finally getting dragged out of the well only to split in half and spew its guts everywhere. In other words, fans of these teams have nothing but good things to look forward to.

HowardRyan Howard, Phillies
Contract: 5 years, $125 million, $25 million AAV. Remaining: This deal kicks in for 2012.

Howard was once a very, very good player that had his career held back due to the presence of Jim Thome in town. When he finally earned the right to play every day, he started mashing and just wouldn't stop. So what did GM Ruben Amaro do? Simple. He gave Ryan Howard one of the richest deals in baseball history... two full seasons before it was set to kick in. And what's happened in those two full years? Well, Howard's essentially become a platoon player who can't field and whose bat has slowed to the point where he can't be considered an elite first baseman anymore. And this is someone who will miss the beginning of 2012 thanks to an Achilles tear that could torpedo his career. His lucrative contract, which will leave him behind just Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez for the highest AAV in baseball history, is just beginning. By the way, he has a 2017 team option for $23 million that will hand him a whopping $10 million in a buyout.

RodriguezAlex Rodriguez, Yankees
Contract: 10 years, $275 million $27.5 million AAV. $30 million due if he hits home-run milestones. Remaining: 6 years, $143 million (plus milestones)

There's no question Rodriguez has been a fantastic player, steroids or not, and he'll retire as one of the best players in the game of baseball. But his 10-year deal with the Yankees was silly when it was signed and it's even sillier now. Coming off what A-Rod called the worst season of his career, the Yankees are suddenly staring at $143 million over the next six years being given to a DH who is lucky if he can reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI. Rodriguez is simply not the same player he once was, and instead of being in his own class these days, he's now merely "very good." And you don't want "very good" from a player earning millions through age 42.

WerthJayson Werth, Nationals
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 6 years, $115.4 million

Here's one number to avoid in baseball: 126. That's exactly how much money (in millions, of course) Zito and Wells are receiving to be money drains for the club. And now Werth gets to be a money drain, and he still has so much more due to him after playing 2011 at $10.6 million. You can't blame Werth, who also (of course) has a no-trade clause, for accepting such a deal. It was obviously a gross overpayment that no one was going to match, but it's hard to envision what the Nats were thinking. Yes, they wanted to make a statement. But was someone set to play 2011 at age 32  with notable platoon splits really the man to make a splash with? The right fielder will likely bounce back from his .232/.330/.389 line set in his first year with Washington, but he will never justify this contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The Walking Dead photo courtesy the show's download page available to public.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Players in Venezuela cautiously moving forward

Wilson Ramos

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite the recent kidnapping of Wilson Ramos, the Giants are not asking star third baseman Pablo Sandoval to cancel his trip to his native Venezuela next month, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Sandoval is expected to go to Venezuela on Dec. 10 and play 10 games for Navegantes de Magallanes near his hometown of Puerto Cabello.

"We are aware of the situation (with Ramos)," Giants vice president Bobby Evans told Baggarly. "Everyone is cautious about the safety of their players."

Sandoval tweeted late Friday, celebrating Ramos' safe return home:
 
A rough translation is: "Thank God for the appearance of my colleague and compatriot Wilson Ramos -- now it's time to put a stop to this kidnapping situation."

Kidnapping has been an epidemic in Venezuela, even though Ramos said he believed his kidnappers to be Columbian.

Former big league pitcher Scot Drucker is playing for the same team in Venezuela as Ramos, the Tigres de Aragua. He's currently blogging about his winter league experience in Venezuela. Friday, before Ramos was found, Drucker blogged about the situation.

Many friends and family members asked me about the team and my safety. The team and front office staff goes over and beyond with team security. We have about 8-12 armed guards who travel with us on the planes and buses. We also have police escorts to and from the fields. I know the import players feel safe.

Drucker also tweeted about his experiences after the news broke that Ramos had been rescued:

Scot Drucker

I also spoke to Joe Speed, the agent for Nationals right-handed prospect Ryan Tatusko, who is also playing in Venezuela. Speed said Tatusko decided to stay in Venezuela, but feels safe because of the team's security. Tatusko is playing for the Bravos de Maragarita.

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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