Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:43 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 am
By Matt Snyder
As we continue our look at the most cumbersome contracts in baseball, today we'll look at outfielders and designated hitters. We covered the infield and catchers Wednesday and will look at pitchers Friday. As a reminder, we're looking at what is left on the contract, not what the player has been paid through the duration of the deal.
Worst: Vernon Wells, Angels
Remaining contract: 3 years, $74 million
Man, this was a tough call because it's a crowded field (see below), but we'll go with Wells because the average annual value remaining on the contract is insane. He hit .218/.248/.412 last season and had a negative WAR, meaning a replacement-level player was better than a guy making over $25 million for the season. At age 33, he could certainly bounce back, but it's hard to see him all of a sudden becoming worth as much money as he's making.
Carl Crawford, Red Sox: There are six years and $128 million left on the deal, and I feel like many will argue that Crawford's remaining contract is worse than Wells'. I'm willing to give the 30-year-old Crawford a mulligan for his catastrophic first season in Boston. Next year at this time we'll know a lot more.
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Amazingly, he still has three years and $57 million left. Wow.
Jason Bay, Mets: In two seasons for the Mets, Bay has hit .251/.337/.386 (what an ugly slugging percentage for a supposed power hitter) with just 18 homers in 218 games. He still has two years and $36.25 million left, too, in addition to a $3 million buyout should the Mets not pick up his option year.
Worst: Alex Rios, White Sox
Remaining Contract: 3 years, $38.5 million
While his teammate got much of the blame last year in terms of the White Sox's shortfall -- and you'll see him below -- Rios was pretty awful himself. He hit .227/.265/.348, which was good for a 65 OPS-plus (if you don't know what that is, trust me, it's embarrassingly bad). He actually posted a negative 1.5 WAR, meaning -- according to the stat -- that he single-handedly cost the White Sox a win and a half just by being in the lineup when he was. And now, thanks to that contract, he's untradeable.
Actually, I've got nothing here. Once one-time center fielders' contracts get too big they are usually shoved to the corners. The big-money guys here (Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, etc.) are fairly compensated.
Worst: Jayson Werth, Nationals
Remaining contract: 6 years, $116 million
Very easy choice. I fully expect a bounce-back season from Werth this year, as several things didn't go his way last season. That being said, the Nationals are paying Werth like he's a superstar all the way until the season in which he turns 38. He wasn't even a superstar his last year in Philadelphia, when he was 31.
Nick Markakis, Orioles: There's a reason you only hear about other teams asking for Adam Jones in a trade and not Markakis. The latter is due $43.05 million over the next three seasons while he hit .284 with 15 homers and 73 RBI last season. You need more offense than that from a corner outfielder in order to pay him almost $15 million a year.
Worst: Adam Dunn, White Sox.
Remaining contract: 3 years, $44 million
Another easy one. Like Werth, I also expect Dunn to bounce back, but there's no way he can be good enough to earn his full contract over the next three years, especially considering how bad he was last season. He was historically awful with the bat -- there's really no need to rehash the gruesome details at this point -- and that's all he does. And if he does field, his value actually decreases because he's such a butcher with the glove.
Travis Hafner, Indians: Nitpicky here, but Pronk will make $13 million this season. He's only averaged 91 games per year the past four seasons. No one else really warrants mention, because Big Papi, for example, is still worth the big bucks.
On the Other Hand ...
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Thanks to an early Longoria-type extension, Upton is set to make $46.109 million over the next four seasons. He made just under $4.5 million last season, when he finished fourth in a crowded NL MVP field. Since Upton is only 24, the D-Backs will have to pony up again -- and probably in huge fashion -- to lock him up through his prime, but for now this is a very team-friendly contract.
Bobby Bonilla, Mets: This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. When the Mets bought out Bonilla's $5.9 million contract in 2000, they agreed to repay him with interest starting 11 years later. Beginning July 1, 2011, the Mets are paying Bonilla an annual salary of roughly $1.2 million until 2035. Or around $35 million in all. In 2012, the Mets will pay Bonilla more than the following regulars/rotation members: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.
Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: We'll ignore that the Red Sox are paying Manny B. Manny $2 million per year until he's 54 because he helped bring them two World Series titles. But the Dodgers are paying Ramirez $8.33 million in 2012 and 2013. Assuming Clayton Kershaw gets more in arbitration, that means Manny will be the Dodgers' sixth highest-paid player this season. Of course, Frank McCourt is still going to make a billion dollar profit, so ...
Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part III: Pitchers, coming Friday
Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts
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Tags: Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Rios, Alfonso Soriano, Angels, Bobby Bonilla, Carl Crawford, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians, Jason Bay, Jayson Werth, Justin Upton, Manny Ramirez, Matt Snyder, Mets, Nationals, Nick Markakis, NL Central, NL West, Orioles, Red Sox, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, White Sox, White Sox
Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:15 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
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.
The American League East is the biggest, baddest division in baseball -- in large part because of the deep pockets of the Yankees and Red Sox, but also because of the drafting and development from the Rays. Somewhere in the middle is the Blue Jays, a team that could be a giant in maybe any other division in baseball. In our exercise, the Blue Jays have an argument as one of the best teams in baseball, largely because of a stout rotation.
1. Reed Johnson, CF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Michael Young, 1B
4. Adam Lind, DH
5. Vernon Wells, LF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Ryan Roberts 3B
8. J.P. Arencibia, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Ricky Romero
4. Shaun Marcum
5. Alfredo Aceves
Closer - Brandon League
Set up - Marc Rzepczynski, Tim Collins, Brandon Lyon, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen
Long - Jesse Litsch
Notable Bench Players
Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Casey Blake, Travis Snider, Eric Thames.
That rotation, are you kidding?
There's Rios and Wells -- two of the most overpaid players in the game. Those two are not just overpaid, they're also not very good. Eric Thames could step in for either one. There are some decent players on the bench, but not a lot of pop.
Comparison to real 2011
The 81-81 season was seen as a step forward for the Blue Jays in 2011, but with this lineup the expectations would be much, much higher. The rotation alone makes this team the favorite in the AL East in our hypothetical. The offense lacks the impact of Jose Bautista, but there's enough to support the pitching staff. Not only is this team better than the real Blue Jays, they have a shot at winning it all.
Next: Colorado Rockies
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Tags: Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, AL East, Alex Rios, Alfredo Aceves, Blue Jays, Brandon League, Brandon Lyons, C. Trent Rosecrans, Casey Blake, Casey Janssen, Cesar Izturis, Chris Carpenter, Dustin McGowan, Eric Thames, Felipe Lopez, homegrown, J.P. Arencibia, Jesse Litsch, Jose Bautista, Marc Rzepcynski, Michael Young, Orlando Hudson, Reed Johnson, Ricky Romero, Roy Halladay, Ryan Roberts, Shaun Marcum, Tim Collins, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells
Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:12 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 11:22 pm
By Evan Brunell
You've seen who Eye on Baseball tabs as the AL Gold Glove award winners, and who should take home the hardware in the NL. But let's flip the switch and take a look at who is deserving of tin gloves. That is, who were the worst defenders at their respective positions in the American League this season? Let's take a look.
Catcher: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays: -- The Jays would love it if Arencibia become a viable starter behind the plate. Unfortunately, that doesn't look as if it will work out. In his first full season as a catcher amassing 116 games, Arencibia registers as one of the worst catchers by advanced defensive metrics and more basic ones, too. Defensive Runs Scored (DRS), errors, caught stealing percentage, passed balls... all are leaderboards that Arencibia appears on, and not at the top.
First base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- Ah, first base ... where inept fielders make their home. That includes Miguel Cabrera, who is a really, really good hitter but just can't add value fielding. He doesn't have much range and is a statue in the field, leading all AL first basemen in errors with 12 (second in the majors behind Prince Fielder). There isn't anything in the field he does particularly well, so he lands here with a tin glove.
Second base: Jemile Weeks, Athletics -- Weeks takes after his older brother, Rickie, in that he's just not a very good defender. Despite playing in just 88 games, Weeks has committed 12 errors, most among all second basemen. Ian Kinsler has committed one less error in 50 more games. Infielders -- middle infielders, especially -- can rack up errors if they have great range, committing miscues on balls that the average infielder wouldn't have gotten to. But even Weeks can't claim this, as his range factor is among the worst among second basemen.
Third base: Mark Reynolds, Orioles -- This one is really easy, and is a player that everyone can agree on. Both advanced metrics and traditional defensive stats all agree that Reynolds is awful with -30 DRS, 26 errors and no range to speak of as well. There's a reason the Orioles have been giving Reynolds looks at first base, and it's because he's that bad at the hot corner.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees -- Yeah, Jeter has five Gold Gloves to his name, but that just shows you what's wrong with the voting process. The fact is that Jeter has been a bad shortstop, and been one for quite some time. He has zero range to speak of with poor reaction time and throwing accuracy or strength. His instincts and ability to make plays on balls he can get to can only take him so far.
Left field: Delmon Young, Tigers -- You know how in the little leagues, the worst fielder was usually put out to pasture in left field, where he'd befriend weeds while the game played out around him? Yeah, well, that player turned out to hit pretty well, which is why Young is in the majors. Because he's certainly not in the bigs for his defense, which is among the worst in the league by any player at any position.
Center field: Alex Rios, White Sox -- How much must GM Kenny Williams be regretting claiming Alex Rios off waivers? Not only has the center fielder not hit, he can't even fulfill playing his position. What does Rios in, and it's not like he does well at any aspect of defense this year, is his lack of instincts and range. He may have a solid .991 fielding percentage, but how much does that matter when you can't run balls down in the gaps?
Right field: Nick Markakis, Orioles -- In right field, a player's arm is one of the more important characteristics as right-fielders need to be able to gun players out both at home and at third base. Markakis' arm is not one of his better attributes, but he's also lacking in speed which is odd given his 12 stolen bases are his most since 2007, but stealing bases and covering ground in the outfield are two very different things.
Pitcher: A.J. Burnett, Yankees -- As a pitcher, range doesn't really matter. If a ball goes somewhere easily out of the reach of the pitcher, other fielders will handle the play. So it can be tricky to gauge just how good of a fielder a pitcher is. Looking at errors is one way to judge how surehanded a pitcher is, and Burnett's five errors tie him with two others. He doesn't have good range either, with his lack of mobility leading to just eight putouts and 21 assists, which rank at the bottom of the pack.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2011 awards, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Rios, Athletics, Blue Jays, defense, Delmon Young, Derek Jeter, Evan Brunell, Gold Glove, Gold Glove, Gold Gloves, J.P. Arencibia, Jemile Weeks, Mark Reynolds, Miguel Cabrera, Nick Markakis, Orioles, OriolesA.J. Burnett, Tigers, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees, Yankees
Posted on: September 11, 2011 12:17 am
By Evan Brunell
Anibal Sanchez, Marlins: Sanchez twirled a gem, throwing a complete-game shutout and allowing just one hit and three walks while punching out 11. All in all, it was a stellar performance for the oft-injured right-hander, whose ERA dipped to 3.64. Sanchez's talent is undeniable -- the issue comes with actually staying on the field. Given he's done that for two straight years so far, it's time to look at Sanchez as a legitimate pitcher and one who could be in line for a big payday as a free agent after 2012.
Chris Heisey, Reds: In a losing effort, Heisey cranked two home runs with a solo blast in the third before beginning a run of three consecutive blasts by Cincy in the fifth. It's the third time this season Heisey has tallied two homers in a game, and went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in his latest such game. Now batting .251/.306/.451, Heisey is putting himself in great shape to start next season as the left fielder, assuming Yonder Alonso doesn't stay at the position.
Alex Rios, White Sox: Rios delivered a walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning to dip Cleveland below .500. It was the only hit of the game for Rios, but it was a fantastic one. Unfortunately, it's going to be the highlight of the season by far for the center fielder, who is rocking a .222/.258/.332 line. It was Rios' first career slam, and Chicago's first walkoff homer of the year. Thanks to his contract, though, Rios should get every chance to win and hold down the center field job next season.
David Wright, Mets: Bobby Parnell wasn't exactly great either, and Wright did contribute two hits, but he also made two errors in the game. The second error came in the ninth when the Cubs rallied off of Parnell. Wright's error allowed the first batter of the inning, Geovany Soto, to reach base and it was all downhill from there as New York committed a total of four errors. That's the most the team has committed since last August. "It's no one person's fault that you lose a game," Wright told the Associated Press. "Collectively there's a lot of things we could have done to win this game."
Yoshinori Tateyama, Rangers: It was a brutal night for Tateyama, who gave up a pinch-hit grand slam to Scott Sizemore after entering the game with the bases loaded. He followed that up by allowing a RBI double before being lifted from the game with an ERA all the way up to 4.71. The last batter the righty faced, which came on Sept. 3, also hammered a grand slam, meaning Tateyama gave up back-to-back slams. His ERA was 3.46 prior to these two slams, and 2.37 on Aug. 23 as he continues to spectacularly implode down the stretch.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds: The nightmare season for Arroyo continues, as he was lit up for six earned runs over just one inning, running his ERA to 5.28, which would be his worst mark since his rookie season of 2000, when he posted a 6.40 ERA in 71 2/3 innings. The following year is his only other time with an ERA north of 5.00. It's a remarkable turn of events for Arroyo, who had been one of the most durable pitchers in his time with Cincy, racking up six straight seasons (the first in Boston) of 200 innings pitched. Arroyo now has allowed 40 homers on the year, tying him with Eric Milton for the franchise record. The MLB record is held by Bert Blyleven, with 50 bombs allowed.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 10:35 am
Can Zack Greinke continue to lead the Brewers? What is going on with Cliff Lee? How important is Josh Hamilton to the Rangers? Scott Miller joins Lauren Shehadi with the answers.
By Evan Brunell
NO BASEBALL IN NOVEMBER: As baseball tries to expand the postseason to one additional Wild Card series, the question has always been how that can be pulled off without pushing the postseason into November, which both fans and players dislike. Angels manager Mike Scioscia feels the postseason can be limited to just October and accommodate an expansion without eating into the 162-game season.
Scioscia, who is part of a special committee for on-field matters and has input into the expansion of the playoffs, feels that by tightening up travel time and playing the occasional doubleheader, an extra series can be fitted in easily. In regards to travel, Scioscia points to his own team's upcoming trip from L.A. to Seattle, New York, Florida and back to Los Angeles as inefficient because of two off days during the trip.
"I don't know what kindergartner figured that one out, but I think maybe we can move to first grade and get that a little better organized," Scioscia said. "The bottom line is we need to be more efficient with travel."
Scioscia believes teams should play in the division for the bulk of April, July and September, which will cut down on travel, as well as schedule the occasional double-header. If baseball can trim the postseason by a few days as well, the World Series would be complete by the time Halloween rolls around.
"We can't have baseball played in November," Scioscia said. "I don't think the Pilgrims set it up that way." (Los Angeles Times)
SLEEPLESS IN CHICAGO: Cubs manager Mike Quade admitted after Albert Pujols' 12th inning walk-off home run on Saturday that he needs to do a better job communicating with his pitcher and catcher on what to do in these type of situations. Clearly, he's got some more work to do as Pujols repeated his walk-off home run heroics in the 10th inning Sunday. (MLB.com)
DEAD BALL: The Phillies won Sunday's game 7-3, but that doesn't mask what was a missed opportunity to score an extra run for Philadelphia. Through no fault of the team, Domonic Brown's single hit the umpire at second base and was immediately ruled a dead ball. There were runners on first and third, but Ryan Howard, on third, was not allowed to advance. The bases were loaded for Wilson Valdez, who grounded into an inning-ending double play. Just overall a weird play and a weird result -- you'd think Howard would be able to score on that play. (MLB.com)
EJECTED: Jason Marquis was ejected from the game Sunday after plunking Justin Upton for the fourth time in the four-game series. Both Marquis and manager Jim Riggleman were adamant that the HBP was not intentional after two Nationals got hit in the inning previous. You can believe that, as the game was currently 1-0 and Upton represented the go-ahead run on base. (MLB.com)
HARPER DOWN: Touted Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch on the left knee in the first inning, and had to leave the game after needing to hobble to the dugout. Good news, though: It appears to be just a bone bruise, so he should be back in the lineup before long. (Washington Post)
ZIMMERMAN REHABBING: In that same game in which Harper was struck by a pitch, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman began his comeback trail by going 2-for-2 with a walk. Zim had an ab tear way back on April 9 and is only just getting back into the fold. It's unclear when Zimmerman will return to Washington, but mid-June looks like a good bet. (MLB.com)
VERLANDER THE BEST? Jim Leyland's been around, so he's got plenty of first-hand experience on which pitcher has been the best to ever pitch for Leyland. The long-time skipper says Verlander has the best stuff of any pitcher he's seen without question, although he still calls Doug Drabek the best pitcher, as Verlander is still learning how to pitch. (MLB.com)
PERFECT IN TRIPLE-A: Mike Minor has made two spot starts for the Braves due to Brandon Beachy's injury, but was shipped back to Triple-A as the club did not need a fifth starter for a while. Minor showed Atlanta he should be considered for the next spot start after taking a perfect game into the seventh and finishing up with a one-hitter through eight. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
TIME TO WAIT: Many in the game seemed to feel as if Brett Lawrie would be called up to Toronto last Friday. That changed when he was hit by a pitch, and that bruise has landed him on the seven-day DL although it was backdated to the point where he will only miss two games. Once Lawrie's pain subsides, he's expected to make his major-league debut. (MLB.com)
HITTING HINDERED: Luke Scott's torn labrum is affecting his hitting, he finally admitted on Sunday. Scott is hitting just .224 this year with six home runs and received a cortisone shot in the hopes that clears up the pain. For now, he's still avoiding any talk about surgery. (MASN)
BELTRAN BRUISED: Carlos Beltran has had a strong season so far, crushing a league-leading 19 doubles and playing in 57 of a possible 59 games. On Sunday, he had to leave the game with a bruise after fouling a ball off his right leg, but is considered day-to-day. (New York Times)
BACKSTOP HEALING: Nick Hundley bashed a home run in his rehab start on Sunday, proving his strained oblique has healed nicely. If he comes through his rehab assignment with no setbacks, he could be back in San Diego by Wednesday. (MLB.com)
MENTAL BREAKS: Jason Bay (New York Times) and Alex Rios (MLB.com) are both receiving mental breaks as both players are scuffling. Rios has been letting his frustrating seep out, so manager Ozzie Guillen feels as if Rios could benefit from a few days off. Bay, who has struggled mightily, will be back in the lineup when the team plays again Tuesday.
BATTING AROUND: Curious how many teams have batted around in the order during the first inning without recording an out? Well, the last time that happened was in 2006 when the Indians terrorized K.C. for seven runs before registering their first out, needing 10 hitters to do so. (Baseball Reference)
NEW JOB? Ozzie Guillen's on the hot seat in Chicago, so his job mixing drinks for a charity event could prove a harbinger of his future job. OK, not really. (White Sox Twitter)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Albert Pujols, Alex Rios, Angels, Braves, Brewers, Bryce Harper, Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, Cliff Lee, Cubs, Domonic Brown, Jason Bay, Jason Marquis, Jim Leyland, Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, Luke Scott, Mets, Mike Minor, Mike Quade, Mike Scioscia, MLB Rumors, Nationals, Nick Hundley, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Ozzie Guillen, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Ryan Zimmerman, Tigers, White Sox, Zack Greinke
Posted on: May 27, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:38 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham has been taken out of Chicago's game in Toronto after being hit in the face by a relay throw. After the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn't believe the injury was serious and doesn't expect Beckham to need to go on the disabled list.
The concern is it hit Beckham in the eye. He walked off the field with assistance, holding the area around his left eye. He was 0 for 1 when he left the game.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:12 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Chicago White Sox were a popular pick to the win the AL Central prior to the 2011 season. I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I picked them. The starting rotation is strong and the offense looked to be powerful.
Instead, the offense was abominable through last Friday. The White Sox had dropped eight of nine games and sat in last place in a pretty bad division at 11-22. While the back-end of the bullpen has been a serious concern, the most head-scratching problem with the team was the lack of offense. From April 15 through May 6, the White Sox scored more than three runs four times -- two of those were four-run games. They scored either zero or one run seven times. This was a 20-game stretch.
If you look at the currrent seasonal totals for American League ballclubs, the White Sox rank 10th in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in OPS. The problems were evident all over the place. Adam Dunn had an awful transition to the AL, possibly affected by his appendectomy (though Matt Holliday seems to be just fine). A.J. Pierzynski can't hit anymore. Juan Pierre hasn't been getting hits like he usually does and has gotten caught stealing (eight) more times than he's stolen a base (six). Alex Rios got off to a pitiful start while Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have scuffled more times than not as well.
You can say what you want about that collection of players, but you cannot dispute there is lots of talent there. I've seen many fans complaining about having a bunch of strikeout machines, but only three AL teams have struck out less than the White Sox. There is lots of power, but there is also speed and it's not an overly old bunch. The oldest one is Paul Konerko and he's been raking.
Now, with a three-game winning streak, it appears the lineup is waking up from its collective funk. Konerko has been consistent and hitting well all season. Carlos Quentin has had some insane hot streaks. He's up and down, but still has a .944 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBI. They just needed everyone else to wake up and it could very well be happening.
In the past three games, the White Sox have scored 19 runs. Two of those came in the pitcher's paradise known as Safeco Field, too.
Some of the individuals who had been struggling are waking up, which only alleviates the collective pressure on the entire lineup.
Beckham went 6-15 (.400) in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and three runs. Ramirez went 3-8 with a double and a home run in the past two games. Dunn went 5-13 (.385) with three doubles and four runs in the last three. Rios has gone 11 for his past 28 with a 1.036 in the past seven games. Even Brent Morel went 5-8 over the weekend.
The White Sox are still just 14-22 and a whopping 9 1/2 games out on May 10. That's an uphill climb. But the bats are starting to wake up, the bullpen hasn't been near as bad in recent weeks and Jake Peavy is coming back to bolster the rotation. There are five games left on a west-coast trip against some pretty good pitching. If the White Sox win two of those games, the 5-4 trip would be considered a success and they'd be coming home to a seven-game homestand in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.
If you still don't buy the Indians -- and note that the rest of the division is flawed -- don't count the White Sox out. Remember, baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.
With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.
"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."
Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.
The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.
FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.
On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.
Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. [MLB.com]
GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]
STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. [MLB.com]
AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]
BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]
RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]
AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. [MLB.com]
VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]
NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. [ESPNDallas.com]
THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
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