Posted on: February 8, 2012 4:11 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Gearing up for spring training, we're headed east -- -but not too far east, just east from west, or in other words, to the Central, starting in the American League and what positional battles will be fought in the American League Central this spring, continuing the spring position battles series.
Chicago White Sox
Closer: Matt Thornton vs. Jesse Crain vs. Addison Reed
With Sergio Santos in Toronto and Chris Sale headed to the rotation, the White Sox are once again looking for a closer. Thornton saved three games last season and Crain one, but both are more or less keeping the seat warm for Reed, the team's top (and perhaps only) prospect. Thornton, an All-Star in 2010, won the closer battle last season before blowing his first four save opportunities to start the season and he was ultimately replaced by Santos. Crain pitched well last season, but it's Reed that has a chance to be special.
Fifth starter: Kevin Slowey vs. David Huff vs. Jeanmar Gomez vs. Zach McAllister
Ubaldo Jimenez is the team's opening-day starter followed by Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin. The fifth spot is probably Slowey's to lose. The 27-year-old right-hander was twice traded this offseason, first to Colorado and then to Cleveland. While he struggled last season (0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in eight starts and 14 games), he's a proven back-of-the-rotation starter with a 39-29 record and 4.66 ERA. He's also familiar with the AL Central. Gomez made 10 starts for the Indians last season, as did Huff, the only lefty of the group. McAllister made four starts and wasn't overly impressive.
Third base: Miguel Cabrera vs. third base
When the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, the stated plan was that Cabrera will move to third, leaving the DH spot for Victor Martinez -- who isn't playing this year. The Tigers, it appears, are trying to keep Cabrera from getting too big to play third in preparation for 2013 when they'll really have a logjam at the position with Fielder, Cabrera, Martinez and Delmon Young. For now, it seems like wishful thinking that Cabrera can play a passable third base. But if he can, it helps the team out -- especially defensively in the outfield with Young not trying to figure out what to do with that that thing on his left hand.
Kansas City Royals
Second base: Johnny Giavotella vs. Chris Getz vs. Yuniesky Betancourt
What you've heard is true -- there's a ton of talent in Kansas City. In fact, the lineup is nearly set, except for second base and center field. Center should be manned by Lorenzo Cain, who doesn't have a realistic competitor for the spot, but second could be a question. Giavotella came up in 2011 to middling results - .247/.273/.376 with two homers and five stolen bases in 187 plate appearances, but he has a chance to take the position if he can play at the level he established in the minors, where he was a .305/.375/.437 hitter since being taken in the second round of the 2008 draft. While just 5-foot-8, he has shown the ability to make contract (striking out no more than 67 times in any of his minor league seasons) and walk nearly as much as he strikes out (192 minor-league walks to 212 strikeouts). He's not the best defender, but he's adequate. Getz is nobody's idea of a long-term answer. He hit .255/.313/.287 last season, but plays good defense. And then there's Betancourt, who was signed not add depth. The former Royals shortstop will not and should not be pressuring light-hitting Alcides Escobar, but he could add some pop to the infield at second.
Disabled list: Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau vs. the disabled list
No two players may be as essential to their team's success as Mauer and Morneau. The two made a combined $37 million last season -- more than the entire Royals team. And, by the way, Kansas City finished eight games ahead of the Twins in the AL Central. The Twins just barely avoided being a $100-million, 100-loss team, but it took a 1-0 victory over the Royals on the last season to do it. Mauer played in 82 games, while Morneau played in just 69, with the two combining to hit seven home runs between them. Morneau's never seemed to fully recover from the concussion he suffered in July of 2010 and Mauer's had a variety of injuries, missing games with a leg injury, as well as lower back stiffness, a bruised shoulder, neck stiffness and pneumonia. Both players will play first base and DH some to try to keep them healthy, but questions will continue until either plays a productive 130-game-or-so season.
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Tags: Addison Reed, AL Central, ALcides Escobar, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Getz, Chris Sale, David Huff, Delmon Young, Derek Lowe, Indians, Jeanmar Gomez, Jesse Crain, Joe Mauer, Johnny Giavotella, Josh Tomlin, Justin Morneau, Kevin Slowey, Lorenzo Cain, Matt Thornton, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Royals, Sergio Santos, spring position battles, Tigers, Twins, Ubaldo Jimenez, Victor Martinez, White Sox, Yuniesky Betancourt, Zach McAllister
Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:05 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.
If there's an opposite of the Oakland A's and Billy Beane's Moneyball, it's Kenny Williams and the White Sox. The White Sox have not drafted well and searched to fill holes through free agency, spending money and taking big chances in trades. While Williams' way makes him the butt of some jokes and nobody's making a movie about him anytime soon, he does have something Beane doesn't have -- a World Series trophy.
1. Alexei Ramirez, SS
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Michael Morse, 1B
4. Chris Young, CF
5. Carlos Lee, DH
6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
7. Ryan Sweeney, LF
8. Brent Morel, 3B
9. Chris Stewart, C
1. Mark Buehrle
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Brandon McCarthy
5. Clayton Richard
Closer - Jon Rauch
Set up - Matt Guerrier, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Boone Logan, John Ely
Long - Lucas Harrell
Notable Bench Players
Not surprisingly, when looking at the state of the organization (and the state of that lineup), the White Sox are thin on bench players, with Dayan Viciedo making a push for the starting lineup as well as Chris Getz on the infield and Mike Cameron in the outfield.
There's no Adam Dunn, for starters. The rotation is good, especially at the top with Buehrle and Gonzalez. The rest of the rotation is good enough, as well. While Rauch isn't the top closer around, the rest of the bullpen is talented.
The lineup isn't going to strike fear into too many pitching staffs, even though there are nice pieces. The corner outfielder and DH are all on the down side of their career. There's also not much depth on the roster among position players.
Comparison to real 2011
The White Sox finished 79-83 in 2011, thanks to poor seasons from Dunn, Morel, Beckham and Alex Rios. The rotation is likely a little better in real life than this team, while the bullpen is better here than in real life, evening out. The lineup may not put up a lot of runs, but the White Sox didn't, either. The real team has an impact bat in Paul Konerko and a good complimentary piece in Carlos Quentin. This lineup doesn't have those kinds of weapons, so I'm not so sure our hypothetical team could match the 79 wins the White Sox finished with in 2011.
Next: Baltimore Orioles
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Tags: Adam Dunn, Addison Reed, AL Central, Alexi Ramirez, Boone Logan, Brandon McCarthy, Brent Morel, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Lee, Chris Getz, Chris Sale, Chris Stewart, Chris Young, Clayton Richard, Daniel Hudson, Dayan Viciedo, Gio Gonzalez, Gordon Beckham, Homegrown, John Ely, Jon Rauch, Kenny Williams, Lucas Harrell, Magglio Ordonez, Mark Buehrle, Matt Guerrier, Michael Morse, Mike Cameron, Ryan Sweeney, White Sox
Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:10 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Are the Royals baseball's most exciting team?
Well, through five games they are, that's for sure. All four of the Royals' victories this season have come in their final at-bat. Tuesday's walk-off winner was Melky Cabrera's 12th-inning RBI single for a 7-6 victory over the White Sox.
"All of a sudden, you just expect us to win and that's it," Royals infielder Chris Getz told MLB.com . "There are plenty of doubters out there, no one's giving us much of a chance, but what do we have to lose? We've got that good feeling and we'll just ride it out."
The Royals have had a different hero each night. In their first win, Kila Ka'aihue led off the ninth inning with a homer to break a tie, the next day the Royals scored two in the eighth inning, capped by Getz's RBI single. The Royals then used a three-run walk-off homer by Matt Treanor (above) in the 13th to beat the Angels in the series finale.
With four victories in their final at-bat, the Royals may not be the best team in 2011, but they're worth sticking around to watch.
Last season the Braves lead the big leagues with 25 victories in their final at-bat.
SEARCHING FOR A WIN -- Another day, another Red Sox loss. Will the Red Sox go winless this season and will the Reds go undefeated? Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder joins blog favorite Lauren Shehadi with the answers (which, well, are both 'no.')
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS -- Ubaldo Jimenez's thumb is better -- but may not be good enough to allow him to make his start Friday in Pittsburgh. The Rockies' right-hander is expected to throw a bullpen today to test the cuticle injury on his right thumb. If Jimenez can't start, Jorge De La Rosa would start in his spot. De La Rosa will be on regular rest following Sunday's snow-out. [MLB.com ]
SHIFT BE A-GONE -- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said putting three men on the right side of the infield has never been an effective strategy against him. Last season he had more singles to left field than right. The Indians, though, had good luck with the shift on Tuesday. The Indians used the shift and Gonzalez was 0 for 4 with two groundouts to the right side. [WEEI.com ]
A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER -- I absolutely love the baseball tradition of giving a guy the silent treatment after his first homer in the big leagues. Tuesday's victim was the Angels' Hank Conger. [Press-Enterprise ]
WELCOME HOME -- Padres starter Aaron Harang looked like his old self in a victory over the Giants on Tuesday. In his first season with his hometown Padres, Harang certainly looked comfortable at Petco Park. [San Diego Union-Tribune ]
CALLED SHOT -- Toronto's Yunel Escobar told teammates Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Encarnacion the team would come back to win, even though they were down 5-0 in the middle of Tuesday's game against the A's. After a four-run sixth inning to tie the game, Escobar delivered on his promise with a two-run homer in the 10th to give Toronto the win. [MLB.com ]
NO MINORS FOR LEAKE -- Reds manager Dusty Baker said sending starter Mike Leake was never an option, even though it appeared that Leake made the team out of spring only because of the injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Baker said Leake was overthrowing in the spring and looked like the guy who started the season 6-1 with a 3.53 ERA in Tuesday's win over the Astros. Leake, the Reds' first-round pick in 2009 made the big league rotation out of spring training last season, bypassing the minors altogether. [Cincinnati Enquirer ]
BELT MAY BE DEMOTED -- When Cody Ross returns to the Giants' lineup, rookie first baseman Brandon Belt could be the odd man out in San Francisco. The Giants say they will base their decision on Belt's play, but sending Belt down would keep the status quo. With Ross back in right field, Aubrey Huff could move back to first. Or if the team decides to keep Belt, Huff would move to left and would make Pat Burrell a bench player. Also, putting Belt in the minors for more than 20 days would keep him from accruing a full year of service time and delay his free agency a year. [FOXSports.com ]
Davis said it was Feliciano's job to strike him out, and well, last season he struck out 138 times, so "it's not that tough of a feat." [New York Post ]
BANDWAGON ROOM -- Attendance at Yankee Stadium through the first four games of the season is down about 8,000 fans per game. [ESPNNewYork.com ]
YANKS AREN'T ALONE -- As we mentioned the other day, it's not just Yankee Stadium that has its share of empty seats -- Wrigley Field has plenty of seats available, even for the seagulls. [Chicago Sun-Times ]
SUNSHINE BALL -- Is there any hope for baseball in Florida past March? [MASNSports.com ]
ROLAIDS ALERT -- The folks over at Big League Stew take a look at the top 10 new concessions at MLB parks this season.
Tags: Aaron Harang, Adrian Gonzalez, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Gordon, Angels, Aubrey Huff, Blue Jays, Brandon Belt, Braves, Chris Getz, Cody Ross, Cubs, Dusty Baker, Giants, Hank Conger, Ike Davis, Indians, Jayson Werth, Jorge De La Rosa, Kila Ka'aihue, Marlins, Marlins, Matt Treanor, Melky Cabrera, Mets, Mike Leake, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliciano, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yunel Escobar
Posted on: September 22, 2010 8:34 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 9:17 pm
If it weren't already ordained the "Year of the Pitcher," you might call 2010 the "Year of the Concussion."
The latest player to see his season end due to a concussion is Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz, who will shut it down after an examination determined he will need two to three more weeks to recover from an injury suffered when a throw hit him in the helmet on a September 12 steal attempt.
"It’s a little unsettling," general manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star. "We’d like to go into the off-season knowing that everything is going to be OK. We expect him to be OK."
Getz, 27, was acquired from the White Sox last winter with the Royals viewing him as a potential everyday second baseman. But he never did earn regular playing time and ends the season with a line of .237/.302/.277.
-- David Andriesen
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