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Tag:Domonic Brown
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.

Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco

Probable lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.

Probable rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton

Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo

Important bench players

C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)

Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.

Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.

Pessimistic outlook
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:11 am
 

Phillies' Brown: 'I'm fighting to win a job'

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

A year ago, the Phillies' right fielder's job was Domonic Brown's to lose. And, well, he did.

A broken hamate bone in spring training followed by a thumb sprain slowed Brown at the beginning of the season and then his lack of production led the Phillies to go out and get Hunter Pence at the trading deadline. Brown hit .245/.333/.391 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 210 plate appearances as a 23-year-old last season. He was sent to the minors after Pence joined the team on July 30 and called up in September. He struck out in his only plate appearance in September.

This season the expectations aren't as high for Brown, the team's former top prospect. He's among those in contention for the left field job, along with John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix, but it appears the deck is stacked against him.

Mayberry was the surprise breakout in 2011, hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 296 plate appearances. Nix is a veteran backup, who like Brown, is a left-handed hitter.

In October, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he wanted Brown to get another year of Triple-A under his belt in 2012.

That, unsurprisingly, isn't how Brown sees things.

"I don't know if I need at-bats in Triple-A or if I need to get used to it up here," He told reporters, including David Hale of DelawareOnline.com on Tuesday. "I just know I need to play somewhere."

Triple-A hasn't been much of a challenge for Brown, who has played 69 games over two seasons for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, hitting .298/.390/.453 with eight home runs and 17 stolen bases. Still, he's not played more than 41 games in one season at that level, so there could be some benefit to a full season at Triple-A and seeing teams and pitchers more than once.

The lack of power last season -- seven home runs in the minors and five in the big leagues -- isn't much of a surprise due to the broken hamate bone. Brown said Tuesday his hand is "100 percent" and it took months for him to get there.

As for this spring, Brown trained with Gary Sheffield in the offseason and is excited about his chances to make the team out of spring.

"I'm not at peach if I start at Triple-A. … I'm coming to win a job," Brown said. "I'm fighting to win a job here. That's the big goal."

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:44 am
 

Spring position battles: National League East



By C. Trent Rosecrans


We finish our look at spring training's position battles with the National League East, home of some of the most intriguing teams in the game -- and the Mets.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central | AL East

Atlanta Braves
Fifth starter: Mike Minor vs. Randall Delgado vs. Julio Teheran

There's not a team in baseball that wouldn't drool over having to make this decision. The three are expected to be the keystone to the rotation in the future, but Minor's still the oldest of the bunch having just celebrated his 24th birthday the day after Christmas and therefore expected to be the first to make an impact in the majors. Delgado turned 22 on Thursday and Teheran celebrated his 21st birthday last month. The left-handed Minor made 15 starts last season for the Braves, going 5-3 with a 4.14 ERA. Meanwhile, Delgado dazzled in his seven starts, going 1-1 with a 2.83. Teheran didn't live up to the expectations many had for him -- but he was just 20 and made only three starts. He'll be fine. More than fine.

Miami Marlins
Center field: Emilio Bonifacio vs. Chris Coghlan vs. Yoenis Cespedes?

This is up in the air until Cespedes makes his decision, although it seems more and more like he'll be a Marlin. There's no question the Marlins want him and there's no question they want him in center field. If he does sign with Miami, the team will have to see how ready the 26-year-old is for the big leagues. He may not start in Miami, but the goal would be to have him there for the long-haul. Bonifacio is coming off a career-best .296/.360/.393 season with 40 stolen bases, but he was aided by a .372 batting average on balls in play -- something that will likely drop, but should still be high because of his speed. He also increased his walk rate, which helped as well. Coghlan won the 2009 Rookie of the Year, but a knee injury in 2010 has hampered him since his first season. He hit just .230/.296/.368 with five home runs and seven stolen bases in 298 plate appearances last season and his future is up in the air.

New York Mets
Second base: Daniel Murphy vs. Justin Turner vs. Ronny Cedeno

Murphy's likely to get the nod, as long as he can field the position adequately. Murphy made the majority of his starts at first base last season, but with the return of Ike Davis, Murphy needs a home thanks to his .320/.362/.448 line. Turner hit .260/.334/.356 as the team's primary second baseman (71 starts), but is probably no more than a utility player in the long run. Cedeno was signed from the Pirates to back up Ruben Tejada at shortstop, but he could figure in the second base situation if worst comes to worst.

Philadelphia Phillies
Left field: John Mayberry Jr. vs. Domonic Brown vs. Laynce Nix

The job is probably Mayberry's to lose after hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI last season. Brown, the team's former top prospect, struggled in his 56 games and 210 plate appearances with the Phillies last season, hitting .245/.333/.391 with five homers. Brown has the talent, but it has to actuate for him to earn more playing time. The left-handed Nix is a backup, but could add depth to the outfield with the absence of Ryan Howard at first base. A good fielder, Nix struggles against left-handed pitching, so he's not an everyday type player.

Washington Nationals
Center field: Rick Ankiel vs. Roger Bernadina vs. Bryce Harper

Well, Harper won't be in center field, but he's basically fighting for that spot. If he makes the team out of spring, he'll be in right and Jayson Werth will be in center. That still seems unlikely, as good as the 19-year-old is. Ankiel won a spring-training battle with Nyjer Morgan last year, leading to Morgan's trade to Milwaukee. The Nationals brought Ankiel back on a minor-league deal, but he's still probably the favorite. He hit .239/.296/.363 with nine home runs last season. Like Ankiel, Bernadina hits left-handed. Last year he put up a .243/.301/.362 line with seven home runs in 91 games and 50 starts in center field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
 

Homegrown Team: Philadelphia Phillies



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 Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.

Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers

Bullpen

Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ

Notable Bench Players

Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.

What's Good?

The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.

What's Not?

The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else. 

Comparison to real 2011

This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60.  That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.

Next: Chicago White Sox

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:41 pm
 

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Wednesday

By Matt Snyder

MLB Winter Meetings
DALLAS -- We're live from the media room, lobby or anywhere else in the Dallas Hilton for Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Tons of rumors will continue to circulate throughout the meetings, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Wednesday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.

6:54 p.m. ET: Breaking news: The Marlins are out of the running to sign Albert Pujols, per Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.

Buehrle, Marlins, Nats

10:48 a.m. ET: If the Marlins lose out on the Albert Pujols sweepstakes, they'll go hard after free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle, reports Clark Spencer.

12:59 p.m. ET: Buehrle talks are "heating up" and he's narrowed the list to three teams, Danny Knobler reports.

4:19 p.m. ET: The Nationals have made what they believe is a "legit, fair, market-value offer" to Buehrle that they are hoping he expects, general manager Mike Rizzo told Washington beat writers (Amanda Comak).

5:11 p.m. ET: Buehrle has signed with the Marlins. Full story.

7:39 p.m. ET: Rizzo told the Washington beat writers he wasn't willing to go to a fourth year on Buehrle. Now the club will shift its focus to free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt or trading for Gio Gonzalez (Bill Ladson).

Red Sox, A's talk Bailey

• The closer-less Red Sox appear to be interested in Bailey, but the price could be too high, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes the A's are asking for a package including prized third base prospect Will Middlebrooks in exchange for the closer. Peter Gammons of MLB Network says the Red Sox are dangling outfielder Josh Reddick in return for Bailey.

Rangers, Angels, Wilson

• The Rangers met with Bob Garber, the agent for free-agent lefty C.J. Wilson, on Tuesday. Garber told ESPNDallas.com that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the Rangers' offer to keep their former No. 1 starter.

12:55 p.m. ET: The Angels are pushing hard for Wilson, Knobler has learned. Full story.

Rockies, Street, Padres, Lidge


11:31 a.m. ET: The Rockies have agreed in principle to trade Huston Street to the Padres. The deal is basically done, but not yet finalized. Full story.

12:05 p.m. ET: The Rockies have "mild" interest in free agent reliever Brad Lidge, reports Danny Knobler.

Dotel

12:07 p.m. ET: The Tigers have interest in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel, but he prefers to stay with the Cardinals, Knobler reports.

Phillies, Tigers, D-Backs, Gio Gonzalez

• The Athletics are one of the prettiest girls at this ball, dangling starter Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey, and apparently both the Tigers and Phillies are looking to get in and bust a move on Billy Beane. The Tigers are in on Gonzalez, but aren't sure they can match the package the Yankees can offer for the left-hander, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. And then there's the Phillies, who are dangling perpetual outfield prospect Domonic Brown in exchange for Gonzalez, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network.

10:44 a.m. ET: Two reporters say Middlebrooks' name never came up in talks between A's and Red Sox.

12:24 p.m. ET: Knobler reports the Tigers asked about Gonzalez but didn't like the price. Cross them off the list of serious suitors.

12:25 p.m. ET: The Diamondbacks are pushing hard for Gonzalez, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

2:51 p.m. ET: The A's will not trade Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, per Joel Sherman.

Kuroda

1:31 p.m. ET: The Cubs, Rockies and Diamondbacks are all after free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, reports Jon Heyman. It had been previously believed that Kuroda would either stay with the Dodgers or go back to Japan -- and a return to Japan is still entirely possible.

2:50 p.m. ET: The Yankees and Red Sox are also in on Kuroda, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Cubs, Rockies, Stewart, Colvin

2:52 p.m. ET: The Cubs and Rockies are discussing a swap of Tyler Colvin (Cubs' outfielder) and Ian Stewart (Rockies' third baseman), reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Mets

4:11 p.m. ET: The Mets are shopping everyone on the roster except David Wright, Joel Sherman reports. Andy Martino circles back and says Ike Davis is also off limits, though. Sherman now reports that the Mets are mostly talking about moving Jonathon Niese, not Davis.

5:56 p.m. ET: The Mets are "talking to three or four teams" about Niese, reports Heyman, who notes they seek "multiple pieces" in return, such as an infielder, catcher or prospect.

7:36 p.m. ET: The Mets are "absolutely" listening to trade proposals on Niese and Daniel Murphy, but "their asking price is high," reports Andy McCullough.

Dotel

5:45 p.m. ET: The Tigers are the frontrunner for Octavio Dotel, reports Ken Rosenthal, who also notes an NL team is involved as well. It's very possible that team is the Cardinals, but the Reds and Brewers have been connected to Dotel also.

7:17 p.m. ET: It's between the Tigers and Cardinals, says Knobler.

9:50 p.m. ET: The Tigers are nearing a deal with Dotel. Full story.

Madson, Phillies

10:40 p.m. ET: Ryan Madson has declined arbitration, so he's definitely available for bidding (Knobler).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 11:41 pm
 

September Storylines: Minor-leaguers to get calls

Mesoraco

By Evan Brunell

With September around the corner, major-league rosters will be expanded to 40 men, allowing teams to call up players for any reason. Whether that be taking a look at a player that could be a big part of the team's future or supplementing playoff contenders, the transition to 40 men will change games in September. Here's a look at nine players who could have significant roles moving forward that could dictate a team's immediate and long-term future. For the purposes of this discussion, we're limiting the candidates to those with little-to-zero MLB experience, as well as those who have yet to make an impact in the majors. (In other words, no Stephen Strasburg, Pedro Alvarez or similar candidates.)

Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos, Yankees: The hubbub has been all about Jesus Montero for quite some time, and he should finally get the call to New York on Thursday. When he arrives, Montero should collect enough starts behind the dish and as DH for the Yankees to evaluate whether he can help them in October. While the Yankees have enjoyed a productive DH combination of Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada, Montero could easily outdistance the two if he delivers on his promise.

Banuelos, meanwhile, has a chance to be a sneaky threat. The Yankees lack a true viable left-handed reliever as Boone Logan's effectiveness in that role has been deceptive. Banuelos was expected to be converted to relief in the hopes of helping in that role down the stretch, but has remained in the rotation for Triple-A, making six starts and posting a 3.03 ERA, and GM Brian Cashman said a couple weeks ago that it was unlikely Banuelos would be called up.

I'm not sure we should buy into that, however. Banuelos has long been linked to an eventual call-up and can help the team. Plus, don't look now, but the Rays have made up some ground recently, and the wild card is not even close to being in hand, while a three-game set with division-leading Boston coming up Tuesday night will also have ripple effects. Given A.J. Burnett has imploded, Phil Hughes is a box of chocolates (you never know what you're gonna get) and Bartolo Colon has shown chinks in his armor lately, Banuelos could end up a surprise starter down the stretch and save New York's season.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds (pictured): The Reds have an embarrassment of riches at catcher, with Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan equipping themselves well in the majors, while Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal continue rising up prospect charts down on the farm. Mesoraco could be the best of them all and will get a chance to prove that in September. Hitting .289/.372/.486 in 495 plate appearances for Triple-A, the 23-year-old figures to bump Hernandez off the team this winter. The Reds are clear sellers in a disappointing season after winning the division, and a strong debut by Mesoraco could get the team chomping at the bit for 2012.

Anthony Rizzo, Padres: Rizzo fell on his face in an earlier promotion to the majors after ripping apart Triple-A. Hitting .143/.282/.265 in 117 plate appearances isn't how one wants to start his career, but Rizzo should get another shot in September, although he'll have to jostle for playing time due to Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman. The 21-year-old has nothing to prove in the minors, ripping 26 home runs in just 89 Triple-A at-bats and could be an important piece to the Padres' 2012 hopes, so he'll get plenty of chances to redeem himself. The guess here? He will.

September Storylines
To come:
    • A look at the postseason races
Jacob Turner, Tigers: Turner already made a spot start for the Tigers, but Detroit could dip down again for the phenom that could top the rotation one day. The freshly-minted 20-year-old has a 3.44 ERA in 20 minor-league starts, all but three at Double-A. Overall, he's tossed 136 1/3 innings in 2011, which is a significant leap forward from 2010's 115 1/3 innings, so inning limitations could play in. However, if Detroit wants to make the postseason and go deep, they have to do something to support Justin Verlander in the rotation. Max Scherzer has been playing a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act, and Doug Fister is a capable pitcher but no one's idea of a lockdown starter. If the Tigers take the gloves off, Turner could emerge to be an important piece.

Stephen Lombardozzi, Nationals: The Nationals already have a middle-infield combination in Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, but the Nationals balked at including Lombardozzi in a potential trade for Minnesota's Denard Span for a reason. The second baseman will receive a look in September as a potential solution at second next year, which forces Desmond and Espinosa into a tough position of playing for their jobs. Lombardozzi is only 22 but has handled Triple-A with aplomb, slashing .320/.364/.426 after a promotion from Double-A. If he plays well down the stretch, one of Desmond or Espinosa will likely be playing in another uniform come 2012 and could be the prime bait needed to grab the long-term center fielder the team so covets. A strong September by Lombardozzi could have ramifications for years in Washington.

Wilin Rosario, Rockies: Chris Iannetta hasn't given the Rockies any indication he can be a long-term, viable starter, but it's OK because Rosario can be that man. While Rosario hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in his repeat of Double-A with a .254/.285/.468 line over 410 PA a year after hitting .285/.342/.552 in 297 PA, he will be receiving a call-up and will play extensively down the stretch. Rosario is well-regarded by both the organization and prospect mavens, so he's a player to watch.

Domonic Brown, Phillies: Brown already tried and failed to hold down a starting job earlier this year, and his role will be greatly reduced in September thanks to the recent play of Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry, but don't overlook Brown. Any day, Ibanez or Mayberry could stop hitting and Brown would be looked at to step in and keep the offense going. Even if not, the Phillies have been linked to Jim Thome and Jason Giambi in recent days as ways to shore up the bench. Brown is a left-hander... even if he's not oozing with power or established. Still, he could be that pinch-hit threat off the bench Philadelphia is looking for in October. He hasn't exactly inspired confidence in Triple-A, but the light could go on any day and when it does, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Brett Jackson, Cubs: As the Cubs look to move past the futility that has dogged them in recent years, Brett Jackson could be a breath of fresh air. While his call-up isn't guaranteed, he's ripped apart Triple-A despite striking out in 30.6 percent of his at-bats. That can be forgiven with a .319/.395/.583 line in 186 plate appearances, which could force the Cubs' hand. Long considered the Cubs' center fielder of the future, that could turn into the present as Chicago begins evaluating its prospects for 2012. With Kosuke Fukudome out the door, Tyler Colvin struggling and Marlon Byrd not part of the future, Jackon could be in line for significant playing time. If he produces, that's one less spot Chicago has to worry about filling, and will give the team someone young on offense other than Starlin Castro to build around.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Phillies to get Pence from Astros

By Danny Knobler

The Phillies have acquired outfielder Hunter Pence from the Astros, sources told CBSSports.com Friday night.

The deal was described by two sources as "very close," and was expected to be announced later in the evening.

Pence, a 28-year-old two-time All-Star, gives the Phillies the strong outfield bat that manager Charlie Manuel has been asking for. Pence hit .308 with 62 RBI in 100 games this year for the Astros.

While Pence isn't as dynamic a player as Carlos Beltran, the outfielder the Giants got this week from the Mets, he fits the Phillies' pattern of acquiring players they can control past the end of the year. Pence can't become a free agent until the end of the 2013 season. That's why the Phillies were willing to pay a bigger price for him than they would have for Beltran.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro also has a history of being able to make deals with Astros GM Ed Wade. The two worked together when Wade was with the Phillies, and last year they engineered the trade that sent Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia.

First baseman Jonathan Singleton, who was pulled out of Friday night's game at Class A Clearwater in the eighth inning, is thought to be one of the players going to Houston in the trade. Pitcher Jarred Cosart, who starred in the All-Star Futures Game, was also thought to be in it. CSN Philadelphia reported that minor-league pitcher Josh Zeid and a player to be named will complete the four-player package.

Pence started for the Astros Friday night, but was pulled out of the game in the fifth inning.

The Braves had also tried to get Pence, but they weren't willing to surrender any of their top pitching prospects. The Phillies, who valued Pence more, were willing to come up with the players to convince the Astros to make the deal.

The Phillies originally expected that Domonic Brown could take over in right field this year, after they allowed Jayson Werth to leave for Washington as a free agent. But Brown got hurt in spring training and has struggled since then, and Manuel told reporters Friday afternoon that he would be better off developing in the minor leagues.

Earlier this week, the Phillies were still trying to decide whether to prioritize an outfielder or bullpen help. They decided to make Pence their top target, in part because they believe the bullpen will be strengthened in the playoffs by the addition of whichever starter they don't use in their postseason rotation (either Vance Worley or Oswalt).

The big question then was whether the Astros would truly consider dealing Pence, who is a favorite of outgoing Houston owner Drayton McLane. At one point this week, Astros officials were telling friends with other teams that they were much more likely to trade Pence this winter.

Once Beltran was dealt to the Giants on Wednesday, however, the Astros realized that the time to maximize Pence's value was now. Incoming owner Jim Crane intends to start a complete rebuild in Houston, likely dropping the Astros' payroll to around $60 million next year. So moving Pence, who makes $6.9 million this year and will be due for an arbitration raise, began to make more sense.

The Astros have also shopped center fielder Michael Bourn (the Reds are interested), and starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. But Pence was always the one who would bring the biggest return.

The Braves move on to other targets. They could try to make a deal for White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, but the Sox are believed to be asking for the same high-end pitching prospects that the Braves refused to deal for Pence. Atlanta could also step up efforts to get Ryan Ludwick from the Padres, or potentially try to get B.J. Upton from the Rays.

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com first reported that the Phillies and Astros were close to a deal.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Deal in place to send Beltran to San Francisco

By Scott Miller

San Francisco struck trade-deadline gold Wednesday, agreeing acquire Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran in exchange for minor league pitcher and former first-round pick Zach Wheeler, according to multiple CBSSports.com sources.

The Mets also will pick up the "majority" of the $5 or so million owed Beltran this year before he becomes a free agent this winter, believed to be around $4 million.

The deal cannot become official until Thursday because of rules surrounding Beltran's 10/5 status. This came up last year when the Yankees acquired Lance Berkman from Houston. When a player has been in the majors for 10 seasons, the last five with the same club, he has no-trade rights and a deal does not become official until 24 hours after it's been agreed to.

In this case, sources say that Beltran has agreed to accept a deal to San Francisco, and that the Mets and Giants have agreed that the right-handed Wheeler will go to New York. One source close to the talks said the Mets will pick up a "significant" portion of the remainder of Beltran's 2011 salary, though it was unclear of how much.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been fielding offers for Beltran for weeks, and Philadelphia, Texas and Atlanta have been among the most intense suitors. The deal began breaking the Giants' way earlier this week when the Phillies cooled on Beltran because the Mets refused to reduce their asking price, and Texas dropped out Wednesday morning.

The Giants clinched the deal with the inclusion of Wheeler, a top pitching prospect who was San Francisco's first-round pick in the 2009 draft. Beltran's bat will be a huge addition to a San Francisco team already in first place in the NL West.

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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