Tag:Andy Oliver
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:36 am

Friday night trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Now that Hunter Pence is off the table, it seems Heath Bell is the latest big name certain to move. But that doesn't mean he's the only one. There are plenty more rumors out there.

One of the most interesting is the Cardinals having interest in Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

This comes after the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss tweeted shortstop had become the team's "priority" at the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Furcal, 33, is struggling this season, hitting .195/.267/.241 coming into Friday's game but could still help the Cardinals -- which tells you all you need to know about the team's struggles at the position.

• A new hot rumor is that the Tigers are making a push for Ubaldo Jimenez and have offered top prospect Jacob Turner, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Turner, the team's 2009 first-round pick, is 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Erie this season. He has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks in 113 2/3 innings. The Tigers would prefer not to deal anyone from their big-league roster.

The Tigers are also dangling lefty Andy Oliver in return for a pitcher that can help them now, such as Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda or even the Nationals' Jason Marquis, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Oliver was rated as the team's No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into the season. He's 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA at Triple-A Toledo with 102 strikeouts and 52 walks in 106 2/3 innings. He was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He made five starts for Detroit last season and two this season. Overall he's 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in the big leagues with 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

• The Astros dealt Pence on Friday, but MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets the Astros have told inquiring teams that shortstop Clint Barmes is unavailable.

• The Pirates are still looking for an outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, and that bat may be the Twins' Jason Kubel, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes.

• Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the odds of his team making a deal are "50/50."

Towers also said there are six or seven prospects he doesn't want to deal.

• Brewers general manager Bob Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still looking at deals, but wasn't hopeful of completing another. On Thursday the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays and brought him from Triple-A Durham where he was playing for Tampa Bay before bringing him to Milwaukee to replace the injured Rickie Weeks.

Melvin said the team would love to find another infielder, but isn't seeing many on the market. The Brewers have rumored to have talked to the Dodgers about both Jamey Carroll and Furcal.

However, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets the Dodgers' conversations about Carroll "have died."

• Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is a hot name, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. He says Uehara will go somewhere. He'll make any bullpen better. However, Rosenthal tweets that it's only a 50-50 chance the Orioles move Uehara. He is 13 appearances shy of a $4 million vesting option for 2012. The Baltimore Sun links Uehara with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers and notes all five of those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

• The Rangers are certainly interested in bullpen help, but San Diego may not be their only trading parter. Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest, tweets Andrew Bailey of the Athletics is the "most likely top bullpen addition" by Texas.

• The Braves may be reluctant to make much of a deal at the deadline so they don't repeat the Mark Teixeira mistake when the team sent, among others, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves are refusing to give up any of their top four pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor. They could look at dealing from that grow in the offseason when the team could be searching to fill more holes. Atlanta has placed center fielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list in the last two days with Jose Constanza starting on Friday, making his big-league debut. Yahoo!'s Passan tweets the team is targeting center fielders. Rosenthal writes Atlanta is looking not only at center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, but also corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham.

• The Marlins appear to be holding pat at the deadline, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. That means they'll keep closer Leo Nunez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:50 pm

Is DH to blame for Dunn's woes?

Adam Dunn

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's your understatement of the day -- Adam Dunn is struggling.

The White Sox's $56 million designated hitter is hitting just .180/.329/.326 with five home runs and 71 strikeouts in 213 plate appearances. He has an OPS+ of 82, a WAR of -0.3 and a WPA of -0.77 -- in other words, he stinks this season.

Now, plenty of players stink these days. The difference with Dunn is that the one thing that has marked his career has been consistency. Since 2004, he's hit at least 38 homers and had an OBP of .356 or better, slugging better than .500 for six of the seven years in that stretch.

There are two big differences -- a different league and a different position.

As for the league, as a National Leaguer with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals, he played in 134 games against American League teams, hitting .247/.362/.523 with 36 homers. That's pretty similar to his career numbers. In three games against National League teams this year, he's hitting .091/.333/.091 -- worse in line with this season's numbers against American League teams, even though three games is a sample size so small it's probably insignificant.

So then, is it the position?

Dunn had long been against DHing. Last year I talked to him and he told me he'd rather quit at this point than serve as a DH. What changed his mind? The same thing that would change any of ours -- a team willing to pay him $56 million to be a DH and nobody offering that much for him not to DH. It was a pretty simple decision for Dunn.

Well, it's safe to say the White Sox aren't getting their money's worth so far. And former White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas said the switch to DH is the biggest reason for Dunn's decline -- and the slugger should adapt.

"I knew this was going to happen, to be honest," Thomas told WSCR radio in Chicago. "This guy's playing out of position. He's been an outfielder and first baseman his whole career and he comes to a new league and has to DH every day. It's not easy at all. I've been there. Over my career, I probably lost 30 points on my batting average once I became a full-time DH. It's just really tough to stay loose, stay focused and stay part of the game. You're coming in four pinches a day, five pinches a day. It's a different mindset. I think he'll be fine going into the third month of the season. I really thought he'd be in trouble the first couple of months."

Thomas spent most of his first full season in the big leagues as a DH but then played first base from 1992-97, moving to DH nearly full-time in 1998 when he played just 14 games at first base. He didn't struggle that much, hitting .284/.389/.492 with nine homers in the first two months of that season, but at that point he'd been a DH in 230 games. Dunn had only been a DH in 18 games coming into this season.

Just as baffling are Dunn's struggles against left-handers. He's never really been great against lefties, but it's never been as big of a problem as it has been this season. Before 2011, he hit .235/.352/.465 against lefties and hit one homer every 20.04 plate appearances as opposed to once every 17.08 at-bats against all pitchers. This season, he's yet to get a single hit in 46 plate appearances against left-handers, walking just seven times.

Ozzie Guillen filled out his lineup card against Tigers left-hander Andy Oliver on Friday and put Carlos Quentin at designated hitter and has Dunn on the bench -- hardly the place anyone expected the team's big-ticket item of the offseason.

Thomas said he expects Dunn to improve, and it's unlikely someone with the track record Dunn has will continue to struggle as much as he has this season, but Dunn is 31 and not getting younger. He has what Bil James called "old players skills" -- power, strike zone judgement and little speed. Those, James wrote, peak earlier and erode sooner than other skills, making a player seem older than he really is -- and few are as old at 31 than Dunn. He should continue to produce, but he may never get to his previous level of production or consistency.

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: May 29, 2011 1:46 pm

On Deck: Let's play two

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Andrew OliverLet's play two -- Nearly gone are the days of the scheduled doubleheader (the A's have one next month), but Mother Nature can still provide us with the occasional twin bill. The Tigers are calling up hard-throwing left-hander Andy Oliver (left) to face Clay Buchholz in what looks like the pitching matchup undercard, as Justin Verlander faces Josh Beckett in the nightcap. The two aces faced each other 10 days ago, with neither starter factoring in the decision of the 4-3 Boston victory. Saturday's rainout was the fourth in the last nine home games for the Tigers. The forecast for today has a 40 percent chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms later this afternoon, so both teams will be keeping their fingers crossed that it stays dry. Red Sox at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET (Watch live) and 7:05 p.m. ET

Search for first -- The Mariners, owners of the worst record in the American League last season, enter Sunday's game against the Yankees just a half-game out of first place in the American League West. To reach first today, the Mariners need the Royals to beat the Rangers and overcome Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who is 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 17 career starts against Seattle. Sabathia's coming off his first complete game of the season, while Mariners lefty Justin Vargas is coming off a rough outing in Minnesota where he didn't make it into the fifth inning. Yankees at Mariners, 4:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

We're going sweeping? -- For all of the Pirates' problems in the last, say 18 years, beating the Cubs hasn't been an issue in the last year or so. Since Sept. 30, 2009, Pittsburgh is 16-6 against Chicago and 11-5 at Wrigley Field. The tally is 4-1 for both entries into the ledge this season. Right-hander Jeff Karstens is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts (and two relief appearances) against the Cubs in his career -- and 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts (and one relief appearance) at Wrigley Field. He faces off against Ryan Dempster, who lost to the Pirates on opening day. Pirates at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 7, 2011 2:42 am
Edited on: May 7, 2011 2:43 am

3 up, 3 down: Big day for Reyes


By Evan Brunell

3upJose Reyes, Mets -- Reyes sure likes his contract year, huh? The question has to be asked: how much of this is him being healthy and how much actually invested and trying -- motivated? A mixture of both, I think. He went 3 for 4, scoring two runs against the Dodgers and Hiroki Kuroda. Oh, and the three hits were a double and two triples. He's now hitting a cool .326/.377/.500. As much as I want him to stay with the Mets (long term, signing an extension), they simply have to trade him, don't they?

Athletics offense -- Oakland was able to net a 3-2 victory, but only mustered five hits and none with two. But the interesting thing is the zero strikeouts registered by anyone on the team. Yes, that's an anomaly, but it underscores how little the A's whiff; they're 22nd in baseball with 203 strikeouts. That's what Moneyball's really about; finding ways to get the best bang for your buck. The A's pioneered it with on-base percentage, kickstarted the defensive resurgence we've seen, and are now monopolizing a team who doesn't strike out. (And really, they only have one major offender with Josh Willingham's 35 punchouts. But they'll gladly pay him for his power.)

Tyler Clippard, Nationals -- Part of what I aim to do with this 3 up, 3 down series is highlight some more obscure players to give them their due. That's why Clippard beats out some honorable mentions who have already had separate articles written about. Clippard has evolved into a mixture of a long reliever while also being as good as any setup man in the game. That's an interesting -- and lethal -- combination. Now you don't need three pitchers to shut down the 7-8-9, you only need two. He went two innings Friday against Florida, striking out both sidse until Drew Storen can on in the ninth. And, scene. The outing gives Clippard a 1.29 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 21 innings pitched. That paces him for 106 innings, by the way. Last reliever to pitch that far? Steve Sparks for the Tigers in 2003. How's that for a name? Scott Proctor (102 1/3, 2006 -- thanks, Joe Torre) and Scot Shields (105 1/3, 2004) are other recent relievers to reach that mark. Proctor and Shields shined in the ERA department as well as Guillermo Mota, who tossed 105 the same year as Sparks. 

Honorable mention -- Cliff Lee's historic start with 16 Ks, Jaime Garcia's near-miss of a perfect game.

3downAndy Oliver, Tigers -- The Tigers' 2009 second-round pick had five fairly awful starts for the Tigers last season but is still a promising lefty at age 23. But down in Triple-A, he had his start Friday pushed back because of a sore hand induced on Thursday by playing with a... slingshot. Yeah, really. The early entrant for oddest injury of the year, Oliver will skip a start although Triple-A manager Phil Nevin (already?) said he could have started today if they needed him to; the soreness just gave them an excuse to do what they intend to do from time to time, which is to skip Oliver. Expect him to make a handful of starts for Detroit down the stretch, possibly quite a bit more if he keeps up his 3.64 ERA start in five starts with a 31/12 K/BB in 29 2/3 innings.

Matt Harrison, Rangers -- First, the line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Not awful, right? Limited his runs. But it was clearly another poor start from the lefty, who expended 119 pitches ans the Yankees beat Texas 4-1. He really should have given up a lot more, and he's got a seat that just grew a little warmer with Tommy Hunter's impending return.

Vernon Wells, Angels -- It looked like Wells was finally getting hot: he cranked a homer May 2nd and then started a four-game hit streak that included a two-hit night in six at-bats with another homer. But he couldn't keep the good times going even as the Angels edged the Indians 2-1 in 10 innings. He had an 0-for-4 night, striking out three times. He's showed enough power so far that he should be considered a factor, but his lousy plate discipline is severely hampering him.

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Posted on: June 22, 2010 5:44 pm

Tigers to promote Oliver

Andy Oliver After demoting a young starting pitcher they brought to the majors with little minor-league experience, the Tigers will replace him with ... a young starting pitcher with little minor-league experience.

Andy Oliver, a 22-year-old left-hander who was Detroit's second-round pick in the 2009 draft, will make his major-league debut Friday in Atlanta. He takes the rotation spot of Rick Porcello, sent to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday after struggling in his second major league season.

Oliver (photo courtesy of MiLB.com) has pitched in just 14 minor-league games, all at Double-A Erie (4-3, 3.12 ERA). He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League.

Oliver is less than a year older than Porcello, but does have college experience Porcello didn't. Oliver played at Oklahoma State, and was part of a landmark lawsuit against the NCAA when he was suspended for having an attorney the NCAA said was acting as his agent.

A big, power lefty with a good changeup, Oliver could be up for a short stint while Porcello gets his breaking pitches sorted out. The Tigers, 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the American League Central, might need to look for help outside the organization if they're not convinced Porcello can return to form.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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