Tag:Alex Cora
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 4:41 pm
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Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt top free agents left



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With Prince Fielder finally off the market, we're officially in free-agent left-over time, with most of the big-name, big-money guys enjoying new contracts.

So, who is left? That's a good question. The best players available are starting pitchers -- with Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt leading the charge -- but in our free-agent tracker, only one position player (Derrek Lee) among the top 25 free-agent position players is available, while three top 25 pitchers remain (Jackson, Oswalt, Javier Vazquez).

Here's the best player -- and the rest -- among the remaining free agents at each position as we get closer and closer to spring training:

Ivan RodriguezCatcher: Ivan Rodriguez. OK, he's a big name, a future Hall of Famer, but he's also 40 -- and a catcher. Rodriguez, 156 hits from 3,000, adjusted to being a backup catcher last season and it's the role he'll play if he can find a team for 2012.
Others available: Jason Varitek, Ronny Paulino, Ramon Castro, Jason Kendall.

Derrek LeeFirst base: Derrek Lee. The 36-year-old finished the 2011 season in Pittsburgh and had a nice finish to the season, hitting .337/.398/.584 with seven homers in his return to the National League Central after struggling in Baltimore for most of the first half of the season. However, he did miss nearly a month after breaking a bone in his left wrist shortly after joining the Pirates. Lee could retire, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reported.
Others available: Casey Kotchman, Conor Jackson, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan.

Jeff KeppingerSecond base: Jeff Keppinger. The Giants non-tendered the 31-year-old infielder who struggled in his 56 games in San Francisco. Keppinger hit just .255/.285/.333 as the team's everyday second baseman, well off his career .281/.332/.388 line. Keppinger brings versatility with the ability to play any of the infield positions, and he's also played in the outfield. He could be a fit with the Mariners, Yankees or Rays.
Others available: Aaron Miles, Carlos Guillen.

Mark TeahenThird base: Mark Teahen. Our top third baseman was recently released to make room for a 41-year-old relief pitcher, what does that tell you? The Blue Jays acquired the 30-year-old Teahen in three-team deal that sent Edwin Jackson and others to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Teahen hit .200/.273/.300 with the White Sox and Blue Jays, playing both corner infield and outfield spots, in addition to handling some DH duties. Another positive is that he often tweets pictures of his two adorable boxers.
Others available: Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Alex Cora.

Ryan TheriotShortstop: Ryan Theriot. Theriot is versatile, with the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field -- but he's best suited, defensively, to second base. He started the 2011 season as the Cardinals' starter at shortstop, but there's a reason the team went out to get Rafael Furcal. He hit .271/.321/.342 for the Cardinals last season, but at this point he's likely best suited as a utility player.
Others available: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Felipe Lopez.

Yoenis CespedesOutfield: Yoenis Cespedes. While we have J.D. Drew ranked higher, he's expected to retire soon, leaving the extremely talented Cespedes as the top available outfielder. Cespedes has just recently acquired citizenship in the Dominican Republic, so now the official courting of the Cuban center fielder can begin. The Marlins, of course, are said to be very interested, even if Cespedes is less interested in Miami. Both Chicago teams are said to have interest in him as well.
Others available: Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, Juan Pierre, Magglio Ordonez, Corey Patterson, Rick Ankiel, Marcus Thames, Jeremy Hermida, Jay Gibbons, Milton Bradley.

Johnny DamonDesignated hitter: Johnny Damon. The 38-year-old Damon is hardly the prototypical slugging designated hitter, but he still has some value. Last season he hit .261/.326/.418 for the Rays with 16 home runs. He could be a fit in Detroit, where he hit .271/.355/.401 with eight home runs in 2010.
Others available: Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero.

Edwin JacksonStarting pitcher: Edwin Jackson. At 28, Jackson has already pitched for six different teams and could be looking at his seventh. With the White Sox and Cardinals, the hard-throwing right-hander went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts and 199 2/3 innings. He struck out 148 batters while putting up a 1.437 WHIP. There are recent reports that he's willing to sign a one-year deal, and is drawing interest from the Tigers. He was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA for Detroit in 2009.
Others available: Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Jon Garland, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield, Scott Kazmir, Rodrigo Lopez, Kyle Davies, Ross Ohlendorf, Doug Davis.

Arthur RhodesRelief pitcher: Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes turned 42 during the World Series and still appeared in 51 games during the regular season and eight more in the postseason. The left-hander had a disappointing run with the Rangers after signing a two-year deal with Texas. But he returned as part of Tony La Russa's bullpen in St. Louis, earning his first World Series ring in his 19 years in the big leagues.
Others available: Chad Qualls, Brad Lidge, Dan WheelerDamaso Marte, Michael Wuertz, Zach Duke, Javier Lopez, Juan Cruz, Jason Isringhausen, Mike Gonzalez, Todd Coffey, Shawn Camp, Scott Linebrink, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamey Wright, Chad Durbin, Brian Tallet, Hideki Luis Ayala, Micah Owings, Dan Cortes, Sergio Mitre, Tony Pena, David Aardsma, Pat Neshek, Danys Baez, Ramon Ortiz.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Free agent third base rankings: Aramis or bust



By Matt Snyder

If your favorite team is looking for a really good run producer to play third base next season and free agency is the route it's taking, there is only one choice. Otherwise, this free agency class is mostly backups or guys who will retire. It's a pretty embarrassing position in terms of how thin it is. How it affects Aramis Ramirez's ability to get a big deal remains to be seen, but it seems like he should have a lot of leverage, no? You need a third baseman? It's Wilson Betemit after me.

List of MLB free agents

1. Aramis Ramirez. He's only 33 and showed he can still swing the bat with authority in 2011, as he hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He's also not the butcher many believe he is at third base -- though he's not exactly Adrian Beltre, either. Ramirez is unlikely to have his option picked up by the Cubs, so it seems like he'll have a new home for the first time since 2003, when he landed in Chicago on a July trade. As already stated, if someone wants to sign a good free agent third baseman, the buck stops here.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Angels, Orioles (mercifully making Mark Reynolds a DH) ... and the Cubs are still possible

2. Wilson Betemit. He hit .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles and eight home runs this season in 97 games. He's a decent to slightly above-average hitter who can play several infield positions, but not really an everyday starter. The dearth of good free agent options at third base could very easily land Betemit a starting job, though. I'd just be weary of a multiple-year deal, as he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007.
Potential teams: Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Marlins, Angels

3. Casey Blake. He only hit .252/.342/.371 and had serious neck issues, causing him to contemplate retirement. The Dodgers have declined Blake's option, so he's headed elsewhere. Retirement is possible, but Blake is seeking a one-year deal and probably willing to be a backup.
Potential teams: Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, retirement

4. Eric Chavez. He hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in his first non-Oakland season, but he still couldn't avoid an extended trip to the disabled list. According to various reports, Chavez isn't sure if he wants to play again in 2012 or retire. If he decides to play, he'll likely get the Yankees' backup third base job again. If he doesn't, he'll be free from the aggravation of constantly being injured. My guess is he retires and the Yankees grab Blake.
Potential teams: Yankees, retirement

5. Greg Dobbs. Dobbs enjoyed lots of playing time in 2011, gathering the most plate appearances of his career. He hit .275 with 23 doubles and eight homers while showing versatility on defense. He's not a great option to start every day, but a really good player to have off the bench. The Marlins reportedly want him back, but a dry free agency crop might land him a decent contract and starting job elsewhere.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies

6. Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Once a decent prospect with power potential -- he did hit 23 home runs while playing half his games in Petco Park in 2008 -- Kouzmanoff's stock has plummeted. He hit .255 with three homers in 27 games after joining Colorado, and the Rockies reportedly haven't ruled out bringing him back. It's possible he has a good full season in a hitter's park, if he stays there (he'd only previously played extended stretches in pitcher's ballparks).
Potential teams: Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Tigers

7. Omar Vizquel. The 44 year old just keeps hanging on. Is he trying to get to 3,000 hits? He currently has 2,841, but only collected 42 in 2011. So it doesn't really seem to be happening any time soon. Vizquel might just love the game so much he refuses to go until someone won't sign him. And someone will this offseason. He'll be playing again in 2012, bet on it.
Potential teams: White Sox, after that it's a complete guessing game. Any team looking for a veteran backup infielder would have interest, and that could be anyone.

8. Bill Hall. At age 26, Hall hit 35 homers for the Brewers. At age 31, he finished the season in the minors after hitting just .158/.220/.211 for 16 games with the Giants. He might get a shot with the Yankees if neither Blake nor Chavez are there, or someone could use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Regardless, don't expect there to be tons of interest. He hasn't been a good player for five years.
Potential teams: Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, retirement

9. Jorge Cantu. The 29 year old was once a run producer, but Cantu had a dreadful 2011 season, hitting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances for the Padres. He was decent after signing with the Rockies ... in Triple-A.
Potential teams: Rockies, Marlins, Brewers -- but this would be a desperation move to start him. He's basically going to be a backup or retire.

10. Andy LaRoche. Once a top-20 prospect -- for two straight seasons -- LaRoche's career has been a monumental disappointment. The only season he approached being a decent player was 2009 for the Pirates, but last season LaRoche was designated for assignment by the lackluster A's. So that should tell you where his stock stands. It's possible a team strapped for cash attempts to catch lightning in a bottle, as LaRoche is still only 28.
Potential teams: Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, many more.

11. Alex Cora. Cora's on-field value has dwindled all the way to zero, but he's reportedly a great clubhouse guy and baseball mind. Several reporters, fellow players and coaches have noted in the recent past that Cora will make a great manager someday. Cora has said he wants to keep playing in 2012, but it might behoove him to get a start on his next career quite soon.
Potential teams: Nationals, retirement

Other free agents who could play third: Jamey Carroll, Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Hairston, Ramon Santiago, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Mark DeRosa, Nick Punto, Willie Harris, Craig Counsell, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Nats' Zimmerman to DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman will be headed to the disabled list before tomorrow's game  against the Phillies, CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman reports.

Zimmerman has a strained abdominal muscle that kept him out of Sunday's game against the Mets. The move will be retroactive to Sunday, meaning he will be eligible to return on April 25.

Zimmerman struggled with the same injury in the spring and had appeared to be playing in pain since opening day.

Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora could serve as replacements for Zimmerman at third base while he's out. The team will officially make the move tomorrow.

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Posted on: January 17, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 5:20 pm
 

Nats sign Alex Cora

Alex Cora
The Nationals are signing infielder Alex Cora to a deal worth $900,000 plus $600,000 in incentives, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. He says it's a minor-league deal, but unless they're planning on paying a 13-year veteran $900,000 to play at Syracuse, it looks like Cora will take the big-league utility spot that opened up when Willie Harris signed with the Mets.

Kilgore also makes the interesting observation that Cora is the ninth member of the Nationals roster represented by agent Scott Boras. By my quick math, those nine players will make a little under $20 million in salary this year. If you figure conservatively that Boras takes 5 percent, that means the Nationals alone are putting a million dollars into Darth Vader's pocket this year. I bet Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo gets a nice Christmas gift from Boras this year.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 7, 2010 6:59 pm
 

Mets send Castillo, Francoeur to bench

Luis Castillo
The Mets' bench got a lot more expensive Saturday, as they decided to let the kids take a shot where the veterans are falling short.

Manager Jerry Manuel said Ruben Tejada, called up Saturday along with Fernando Martinez, will be the everyday second baseman, supplanting Luis Castillo. Outfielder Martinez will be in a right-handed platoon with Jeff Francoeur, meaning he'll get most of the starts. Castillo (pictured) is making $6 million this season and batting .246/.341/.287; Francoeur is making $5 million and batting .241/.295/.378.

"When you lose the games that we've been losing, you just have to try to do something different," general manager Omar Minaya told ESPNNewYork.com. "There's nothing wrong trying something different with young players. ... This is about trying to find something different to get us to score some runs."

Tejada, 20, played 35 games with the Mets previously this season, batting .212. Martinez, 21, batted .176 in 29 games early in 2009.

Putting guys that young with no history of producing in the majors in starting positions looks an awful lot like running up the white flag on the season, but Minaya insists that's not the case.

"It's always developmental when you bring the young kids up," Minaya said. "But we feel we're still in a pennant race."

To make room on the roster for the new arrivals, the Mets sent down Jesus Feliciano and released Alex Cora. Cora, who was having a miserable season at the plate (.207/.265/.278), was 18 games from automatically vesting a $2 million option for 2011.

Francoeur has been a fourth wheel in the Mets outfield since Carlos Beltran's return, but had seen more playing time since Jason Bay went out with a concussion. Now he's back to the bench, and some expect him to ask for a trade.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: June 28, 2010 10:50 am
Edited on: June 28, 2010 10:53 am
 

Trip highlights Puerto Rican baseball's struggles

Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran won't play in this week's Mets-Marlins series in Puerto Rico, making Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez the biggest Puerto Rican star in the series.

In anticipation of Major League Baseball's return to Puerto Rico, the New York Times looks at the sport's fading star on the island .

The land of Clemente has fewer stars in baseball than even a decade ago, and the Times points the finger at the inclusion of Puerto Ricans into the draft, starting in 1989.

While stopping the bidding war for the best young players on the island succeeded, it had the unintended effect of killing the sport on the island, as Puerto Ricans had to compete against American players and their access to better coaches, competition and facilities. It's also encouraged major-league teams to look more at the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and elsewhere for unsigned talent that can be developed starting at 16.

In 2009, just 3.5 percent of position players in Major League Baseball were from Puerto Rico, a 24-year low.

"There’s talent, don’t get me wrong, but when you don’t have scouts, how can you evaluate players?” the Mets’ Alex Cora, told the Times . "If we keep going like this, it’s going to keep going backward.”

What's not mentioned in the Times article is an increase in the popularity of basketball, starting in the 1980s. The island boasts not only an 11-team professional league, but also supports a women's basketball league. That coincides with the drop of popularity in baseball and an increase in the popularity of basketball among African-Americans in the United States.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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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