Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:31 pm
By Matt Snyder
The 2011 NL Central champions likely knew they were going to lose one of their superstars heading into the offseason, so it wasn't huge news to Milwaukee when Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers. But when news broke in December that Ryan Braun was facing a 50-game suspension, it was a disaster. And then just a few days ago, Braun was exonerated and Brewer Nation could breathe a sigh of collective relief. The net result has to be momentum heading into spring, so maybe the Braun test was a blessing in disguise? Otherwise they're just reeling from losing Prince. Anyway, let's dive in.
Scott Miller's camp report: Gamel to replace Prince? | Likes, dislikes
Major additions: 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Norichika Aoki
Major departures: 1B Prince Fielder, SS Yuniesky Betancourt, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Takashi Saito, IF/OF Jerry Hairston
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
5. Corey Hart, RF
6. Mat Gamel, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C
1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Zack Greinke
3. Shaun Marcum
4. Randy Wolf
5. Chris Narveson
Closer: John Axford
Set-up: Francisco Rodriguez
Important bench players
OF Aoki, OF Carlos Gomez, IF Brooks Conrad
Prospect to watch
It's gotta be Wily Peralta, a 22-year-old starting pitcher in Triple-A. He only made five Triple-A starts last season, but he was impressive -- going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 31 innings. Peralta will obviously begin the season in Triple-A, but if we get into June or July and Peralta is dominating while Narveson is struggling -- or, obviously, injury strikes to any member of the rotation -- we could well see the right-hander at the back-end of the rotation.
Fantasy sleeper: Mat Gamel
"Why isn't there more hype in Fantasy? For one thing, Gamel is already 26, so he doesn't exactly qualify as a prospect anymore. For another, he hasn't impressed in his brief major-league opportunities so far. To be fair, though, the Brewers haven't cared to give him the benefit of the doubt, unwilling to live through his defensive lapses at third base for no more than prospective production. With him at first that's not an issue anymore. He'll have all the time he needs to get comfortable and if his minor-league numbers are any indication he'll be an impact player as a result." - Scott White [Full Brewers team fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Aramis Ramirez
"He turns 34 this year. A player that age with that injury history will get hurt at some point and if his numbers begin to decline along with it he could easily drop out of the top 12 at the position. It's coming sooner than later. Why take the risk when you can land a Pablo Sandoval at about the same point in the draft?" - Scott White [Full Brewers team fantasy preview]
Ramirez and Gamel thrive in the lineup while Gonzalez is a marked upgrade over Betancourt. Greinke and Gallardo both pitch like aces throughout the season while Marcum holds strong as one of the better middle-of-the-rotation pitchers in baseball. K-Rod and Axford form the most dominant eighth and ninth inning combo in the league, too. All this would have the Brewers winning their second consecutive division title and making a run at their first World Series title in history.
Ramirez starts slow and never recovers, as he's booed consistently by the hometown fans who miss Fielder. Gamel flops at first base, too, leaving the Brewers with a very lackluster bottom-third of the lineup. Greinke falters, Wolf ages quickly and no one can really nail down the fifth spot in the rotation. The best the Brewers can do to overcome these woes is finish fourth, as the Reds and Cardinals compete for the NL Central while the Pirates move into third.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Alex Gonzalez, Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, Chris Narveson, Corey Hart, Francisco Rodriguez, John Axford, Jonathan Lucroy, Mat Gamel, Matt Snyder, NL Central, Norichika Aoki, Nyjer Morgan, Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Shaun Marcum, spring training, spring training 2012, Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie.
We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
• @LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
• @DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
• @str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.
Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
• Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
• Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
• Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.
• Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
• Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
• Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
• Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
• None, they're all lame.
• Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
• Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
• Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
• Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
• Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.
Most Impressive home run:
• Juan Francisco
• Justin Upton
• Prince Fielder
• Mark Trumbo
• Mike Stanton
Best defensive play:
• Asdrubal Cabrera
• Brandon Phillips
• Ben Revere
• Jeff Francoeur
• Sam Fuld
So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: 2011 awards, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Rodriguez, Angels, Asdrubal Cabrera, Astros, Athletics, Ben Revere, Bloggies, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Phillips, Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans, C.J. Wilson, Cardinals, Chris Narveson, David Herndon, Diamondbacks, Giants, Indians, J.C. Romero, Jason Motte, Jeff Francoeur, Jeremy Affeldt, Jeremy Guthrie, Jimmy Rollins, Juan Francisco, Justin Upton, Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Mark Trumbo, Marlins, Matt Holliday, Mike Leake, Mike Stanton, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Phillies, Prince Fielder, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Sam Fuld, Sergio Escalona, Terry Francona, Tony La Russa, Twins, Yadier Molina, Yankees, Zack Greinke
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
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.
While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols.
1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B
1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn
Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez
Notable Bench Players
The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.
Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options.
After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.
Comparison to real 2011
Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.
Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Allen Craig, Blake Hawksworth, Brendan Ryan, Brett Wallace, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, Chris Narveson, Chris Perez, Coco Crisp, Colby Rasmus, Dan Haren, Daniel Descalso, Daric Barton, Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Salas, Homegrown, J.D. Drew, Jack Wilson, Jaime Garcia, Jon Jay, Kyle McClellan, Lance Lynn, Luke Gregerson, Mitchell Boggs, NL Central, Placido Polanco, Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Tony La Russa, Yadier Molina
Posted on: October 16, 2011 8:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
And it was. For the Cardinals.
Marcum was booed as he walked off the mound in the first inning, giving up four runs before his team took a single swing of the bat.
Even before David Freese hit a three-run homer, Roenicke had LaTroy Hawkins warming up in the bullpen. It took two very good defensive plays (and a questionable call by home plate umpire Mike Winters) to get the first two outs of the inning, as Marcum gave up a single to Jon Jay, a walk to Albert Pujols, an RBI single to Lance Berkman and Freese's homer in a four-run first. Marcum needed 27 pitches to get out of the inning.
Yuniesky Betancourt made a good running play on a popup by leadoff man Rafael Furcal in short left to start the inning before giving up a single to Jay. Jay stole second, and then after Pujols walked, Berkman singled and took second when Brewers center fielder Nyjer Morgan overthrew his cutoff man in a futile attempt to get Pujols at third.
The Brewers seemed to get the break they needed when Holliday hit a weak grounder back to the mound and Marcum scooped the ball to catcher Jonathan Lucroy to get Pujols at the plate. While the throw beat Pujols (barely), Lucroy tagged his back leg after his front leg had crossed the plate.
There wasn't much time to dwell on that, as Freese hit the first pitch he saw from Marcum over the fence in left. To give St. Louis a 4-0 lead.
In three postseason starts, Marcum is on the hook for his third loss and pitched 9 2/3 innings, allowing 17 hits and 16 earned runs, good for a 14.90 ERA.
"I really feel good about this decision," Roenicke said before the game. "Whether he pitches well tonight or whether he gets hit a little bit, this is the right decision. For this ball club, it's the right decision. And I've had many conversations with a lot of people in this organization that have been with us all year. This is definitely the right decision.
"It doesn't mean that he's going to go out and have a great game. I expect him to. I think he's definitely capable of doing it. He has not liked the way he's pitched the last couple of games. And I think he's going to have a good game today."
Roenicke was wrong, but his reasoning in sticking with Marcum was that he didn't want to go with Yovani Gallardo on short rest, and if he did, he had few other choices for a starter in Game 7.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am
By Evan Brunell
TOUGH DECISION: Bubba Starling has a choice -- accept a hefty bonus and head to the minor leagues for a few years in the hope he can rise up the ladder and join the Royals. The hometown athlete was drafted by Kansas City in June but he has yet to sign with the deadline coming up on Monday. Starling has a tough decision to make -- join K.C. or head to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where fame as a quarterback awaits.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Starling told the Kansas City Star.
Starling was at the University of Nebraska signing autographs and fans obviously were rooting for Starling to opt to join the Cornhuskers. The problem is, that's a lot of money for Starling to give up to play football, a sport that's more dangerous to overall long-term health.
“If it was my son, I’d probably tell him to play baseball,” fan Kevin Sullivan said. “But, you know, if he’s going to play Nebraska football …” (Kansas City Star)
BIZARRE INJURY: There's always a few injuries each season that make you do a double-take. Chris Narveson was a victim of such an injury, slicing his thumb with scissors while trying to repair his glove. He required eight stitches and will miss his next start. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
BACK TO SCHOOL: Zachary Houchins, the Nationals' 15th round pick, is heading back to college. “I haven’t had [contact with the Nationals] any since all that stuff happened,” Houchins said. “I’m set on going back to school. ... I’m happy with it. I’d love to go back there.”
Houchins is referring to epithets used to describe African-Americans, homosexuals and Chinese on his Twitter feed in June, since deleted. The Nationals were upset with his words, which Houchins admitted they had a right to be. Houchins added, though, that the comments weren't hateful and just part of how he and his friends (many African-American) talk.
“Honestly, in my eyes, there was no lesson to learn,” Houchins said. “It’s just what I said got blown out of proportion, and I paid the price for it.” (Washington Post)
CLUTCH: Matthew Leach runs through a list of players who have been clutch so far this season. The one thing that caught my eye is Asdrubal Cabrera's performance with the bases loaded -- a pristine 6 for 6. (MLB.com)
INJURY PROBLEMS: Paul Konerko's left calf strain has made lineup maneuverings tough for skipper Ozzie Guillen, and if the White Sox had gone into extra innings last night, would have done so without a DH when Konerko was pinch-run for by Brent Lillibridge, with Lillibridge moving to first for the ninth. (Chicago Tribune)
LYNN, TOO: Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn strained his left oblique in Tuesday's game and will hit the disabled list, depriving the team of one of its most dependable late-inning relievers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
SURGERY: Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is likely to undergo surgery to repair a hyperextended left elbow, and would prefer to get it over with sooner rather than later. (Cincinnati.com)
LOPEZ ... HEPING? There's a piece up today about Felipe Lopez, who supposedly doing well in Milwaukee after coming over from Tampa Bay, starting nine of the last 10 games. How someone hitting .235/.289/.235 in 34 at-bats (which was conveniently omitted from the story) is doing well is not clear. (MLB.com)
LAST RING: Bengie Molina was at the Rangers game on Tuesday, collecting his AL championship ring -- the last ring Texas needed to hand out. He also threw out the first pitch and told his ex-teammates not to waste their strong season. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
SANTO STATUE: The Cubs will unveil a statue of Ron Santo on Wednesday. In the article, an interesting tidbit: Kerry Wood only returned to the Cubs because he ran into GM Jim Hendry at Santo's funeral in December. (Chicago Tribune)
ILLEGAL BALLS: An independent baseball team, the Lake County Fielders, had a game suspended Friday night for claims that the team provided inferior baseballs to be used. These baseballs were not sanctioned for professional use, but were still brand new and purchased from a sporting goods store. In financial trouble, the team hadn't placed its order to Rawlings for the baseballs until it was too late, and umpires decided the baseballs weren't acceptable. League officials have since approved their usage. (DailyHerald.com)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 4:32 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Central showdown: Detroit took round one of the three-game series between the Tigers and Indians, giving the home team a one-game lead in the division. Tonight, the Indians have their top starter on the mound, but he's been anything but an ace of late, going 0-5 with an 8.49 ERA in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Detroit's Brad Penny is 3-0 in four starts against the AL Central this season, but he hasn't faced Cleveland. Penny has just one win in his last four starts. Indians at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)
Matchup of the night: The first game of today's day-night doubleheader in Philly was a bit of a laugher following the Phillies' six-run third en route to an 8-1 victory, but the nightcap shouldn't be a repeat with the pitching matchup of Roy Halladay vs. Anibal Sanchez. Halladay, well, is one of the game's premier pitchers, coming into the game 9-3 with a 2.39 ERA. Sanchez is having a good season so far, going 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA and for all of Florida's struggles, the Marlins have won eight of his 13 starts. Marlins at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)
Streaking the other way: The Brewers' losses to the Cubs in the first two games of the teams' four-game series marked Milwaukee's first losses in consecutive games since it's seven-game losing streak from April 30-May 6, a streak of 35 games without back-to-back losses. They'll have to beat Carlos Zambrano, who beat the Brewers on April 8 and is 13-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 32 games against Milwaukee. Chris Narveson (3-4, 4.32 ERA) is on the mound for the Brewers. Brewers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 1:12 am
Edited on: April 30, 2011 1:17 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Zack Greinke made what may have been his final minor-league rehab start on Friday, allowing seven hits and two runs in five innings for Triple-A Nashville against Albuquerque.
Greinke threw 75 pitches, 50 for strikes. He walked one and struck out seven against the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate.
It was Greinke's third rehab start out of what was scheduled to be three starts in the minors.
"I know he's looking forward to this being his last one there," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told MLB.com before the Brewers' game with the Astros. "Hopefully, it's a good outing that he gets a lot of innings in. To get up and down is what's important. I hope he doesn't run through his pitch count to where he's not getting up and down a lot.
The Brewers are looking at starting him either Wednesday or Thursday in Atlanta, limiting to 90 pitches in that outing. Wednesday would be five days rest, but Thursday would set up the rest of the team's rotation, and find a way to put Yovani Gallardo between the team's two left-handed starters, Chris Narveson and Randy Wolf.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:56 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
As expected, Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens was put on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a strained right oblique. The move is retroactive to March 25, but the team doesn't expect him to start until April 16 against the Mets.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jurrjens threw a 10-minute bullpen on Sunday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game at Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday. His next step would be pitching five or six innings for Gwinnett on April 11, before coming back on April 16.