Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.
Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito
Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay
Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.
Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Aaron Hill, Archie Bradley, BRad Ziegler, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Gerrardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Kevin Towers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, spring training, Stephen Drew, Takashi Saito, Takashi Saito, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: December 9, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 7:52 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Cahill and lefty reliever Craig Breslow are headed to Arizona in return for right-handers Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook, along with outfielder Collin Cowgill. Arizona also received cash considerations in the deal.
Cahill would bolster the Diamondbacks' rotation, joining Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the rotation. Cahill, 23, is signed through 2015 with club options for 2016 and 2017. Cahill is owed $30 million over the next four season, earning $3.5 million this season after making just $500,000 last season.
Cahill was 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA last season after going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 2010. Breslow appeared in 67 games last season with a 3.79 ERA and has pitched in 202 games with a 3.14 ERA after being picked off from waivers by the A's from the Twins in 2009.
Parker, 23, was the Diamondbacks' first-round pick in the 2007 draft and made his big-league debut this past season, earning a no-decision in his lone start, but throwing 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run. He also made an appearance in the NLDS against the Brewers, allowing two hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning.
Cowgill, 25, hit .239/.300/.304 with a home run in 100 plate appearances last season. Cook was 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in 12 appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2011. In his first year as a reliever, he appeared in 48 games at Double-A and Triple-A in addition to his big-league stint, earning a 2.21 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 61 innings.
Overbay finished 2011 with Arizona after being released by the Pirates in August. He hit .286/.388/.452 with a home run in 18 games for Arizona after hitting .227/.300/.349 for the Pirates in 391 playte appearances. Overbay started his career in Arizona, playing part of three seasons there before being traded to Milwaukee in the deal that brought Richie Sexson to Arizona.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, AL West, Athletics, C. Trent Rosecrans, Collin Cowgill, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks, free agency, free agent tracker, Ian Kennedy, Jarrod Parker, Lyle Overbay, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, NL West, Trevor Cahill
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:02 pm
By Matt Snyder
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 you're exhausted by the constant rumors we're circulating at the Winter Meetings, here's your fun little break. Today's installment of Homegrown brings the most powerful team in the bigs. Everyday in Chase Field would be like this past All-Star break's Home Run Derby. And the fans wouldn't even have to boo the entire time.
1. Stephen Drew, SS
2. Miguel Montero, C
3. Justin Upton, RF
4. Carlos Gonzalez, CF
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Carlos Quentin, LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
8. Mark Reynolds, 3B
1. Jorge De La Rosa
2. Brett Anderson
3. Max Scherzer
4. Josh Collmenter
5. Chris Capuano
Both De La Rosa and Anderson had season-ending surgeries in the real 2011 season, so if they did, we'd have to turn to Brad Penny and Ross Ohlendorf. We also have first-rounders Jarrod Parker and Trevor Bauer waiting in the wings. And good ol' Brandon Webb, too.
Closer - Jose Valverde
Set up - Javier Lopez, Sergio Santos, Daniel Schlereth, Vicente Padilla, Esmerling Vasquez
Long - Penny, Ohlendorf, Micah Owings
Notable Bench Players
Rod Barajas, Chris Snyder, Lyle Overbay, Conor Jackson, Scott Hairston, Emilio Bonifacio, Gerardo Parra
Wow, that's some serious power in the lineup. If everyone stayed healthy for a full season, there's every reason to believe all eight hitters would have at least 20 home runs, with Montero and Drew really being the only questions there. A handul of them would hit more than 30. So, yes, the power of the offense immediately jumps out, but really everything is pretty good here. There is depth, a solid rotation -- albeit injury-riddled -- and a good closer with quality setup men.
Reynolds is a butcher at third base. If Anderson and De La Rosa both fell injured before Bauer and Parker were ready, the rotation would become awfully thin. Even if they stayed healthy, there isn't a bona fide ace. The outfield defense isn't great, with Gonzalez and Quentin, but it isn't awful either.
Comparison to real 2011
The real Diamondbacks went 94-68 and won the NL West before bowing out in Game 5 of the NLDS to the Brewers. This team would be every bit that good, if not better -- and again, being that this is a hypothetical exercise, we're hypothetically assuming health to the top two starting pitchers. If this team played like it was capable, it could very well be a World Series champion.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Brett Anderson, Brett Cecil, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Quentin, Chris Capuano, Chris Snyder, Conor Jackson, Dan Uggla, Daniel Schlereth, Diamondbacks, Emilio Bonifacio, Esmerling Vasquez, Gerardo Parra, Homegrown, Jarrod Parker, Javier Lopez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Valverde, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Lyle Overbay, Mark Reynolds, Matt Snyder, Max Scherzer, Micah Owings, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Rod Barajas, Ross Ohlendorf, Scott Hairston, Sergio Santo, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Vicente Padilla
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:01 pm
By Matt Snyder
• The White Sox are in a situation where they're most certain to be sellers on the trade market in an attempt to rebuild their barren farm system. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that other teams are so sure the White Sox are selling that they're inquiring about shortstop Alexei Ramirez and young pitcher Chris Sale. But, Knobler adds, the price for either would be "sky high." Talks on a contract extension with starting pitcher John Danks are in a "stalemate" and it's possible he's traded (ESPN Chicago). Remember, earlier this week we passed along the report that the White Sox were trying to deal reliever Matt Thornton and we've heard rumors involving starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and right fielder Carlos Quentin for weeks. Long-time left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is a free agent and expected to be gone. Jon Heyman reports there are 14 teams after Buehrle, so he may be the most popular player on the free agent market.
• The Rockies are still interested in Martin Prado, Knobler reports, and the Braves like outfielder Seth Smith as a piece coming back -- but the Braves also want Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado and, as Knobler said, that's not happening.
• It's looking less likely the Dodgers can retain starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, reports Knobler. Kuroda made $12.5 million last season and the Dodgers won't come close to paying him that much to stick around. The interesting factor here is Kuroda has said he won't pitch for any other team in America. So if he doesn't want to sign for what the Dodgers offer, he may well be headed back to Japan.
• Angels infielder Maicer Izturis was discussed in trade talk between the Angels and Rockies before the Chris Iannetta trade was completed -- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports -- so Izturis is available. The Tigers have been connected with Izturis in rumors this week.
• The Brewers, Cardinals and Giants are all looking at free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez (Jon Heyman).
• The Rangers are hopeful of getting a long-term contract extension done with catcher Mike Napoli (Jon Paul Morosi). If he doesn't sign an extension, Napoli would be a free agent after the 2012 season.
• The Diamondbacks have made a contract offer to first baseman Lyle Overbay (Fox Sports Arizona).
• Earlier Thursday we noted that the Marlins were wooing closer Heath Bell, and you can now add the Blue Jays to the mix. They are after his services, reports Ken Rosenthal.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Gonzalez, Alexei Ramirez, Angels, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Carlos Quentin, Chris Sale, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, free agency, free agent tracker, Gavin Floyd, Giants, Heath Bell, Hiroki Kuroda, John Danks, Lyle Overbay, Maicer Izturis, Mark Buehrle, Marlins, Martin Prado, Matt Snyder, Matt Thornton, Mike Napoli, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Nolan Arenado, Rangers, Rockies, Rockies, Seth Smith, Tigers, White Sox
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:27 pm
By Evan Brunell
The baseball free-agent class is a bear. Once you get beyond the first couple of names at each position that are eligible for free agency, you quickly dissolve into reading a list of retreads, never-weres or aging All-Stars. That will make it difficult for teams to fill holes via free agency, but at the same time, there are some names that are poised for bounceback seasons and are being overlooked. That's what this list is all about -- what players could contribute in 2012 given the chance, that are being overlooked right now?
Some of these names are true diamonds in the rough, while others are a product of choosing between bad or worse. But hitting right on one of these names could mean the difference between playing golf in October or getting a ring.
C: Chris Snyder
Back problems are never a good thing when it comes to catchers. If Snyder can recover from a herniated disc, however, he could give a team strong production as a backstop for minimal price. It wasn't all that long ago that Snyder had a long-term deal in hand from the Diamondbacks and was blocking Miguel Montero, but injuries sapped his production and he was shipped to Pittsburgh in 2010. Before the injury, Snyder showed signs of coming out of his slump. His plate discipline was still there, but he was driving balls with more authority. He didn't get enough playing time to accurately draw conclusions, but quality catchers are rare in baseball and Snyder should get another chance to show he belongs.
1B: Lyle Overbay
While age has caught up to Overbay, he still has something to offer as a first baseman. While one wouldn't have ever called him one of the better first baseman in the league in recent years, he did finish his Blue Jays career as a respectable first baseman. Problem is, he was anything but respectable with the Pirates and needed a late-season rejuvenation in Arizona to feel better about himself. At this point in Overbay's career, it would be a surprise if he found a full-time job at first somewhere, but Overbay is still capable of cracking doubles and providing solid (albeit unspectacular) defense. In a platoon role playing against just righties, Overbay could deliver.
2B: Aaron Hill
Hill once hit 36 home runs, doing so in his breakout 2009 campaign as a 27-year-old. That bode well for the future, giving Toronto a beast in the middle of the order that played second, no less. Unfortunately for Hill, things took a turn for the worse in 2010 as he tried too hard to drive the ball over the fence. This season, Hill stopped trying to swing for the fences so much, but his offense was completely disastrous in every possibility, hitting .225/.270/.313 before the Jays gave up. Arizona saw what Hill could be like at his best, as the 29-year-old hit .315/.386/.492 down the stretch. That offers a lot of optimism moving forward, even if 2009 remains his high-water point. The mere fact he rebounded as well as he did with the Diamondbacks puts Hill in the category of low risk, high reward.
3B: Jamey Carroll
Carroll is actually one of the better names on the free-agent market, although that's mostly by default given the thin crop of free agents. Some may overlook Carroll for a third-base job given he has played second and short almost exclusively the last two seasons. Yet, he's played more career games at third than shortstop (by one game), so he can handle the hot corner. In a market devoid of third basemen, teams would be well-served to look at Carroll to plug the hot corner and a fill-in across the diamond. The utility player has really emerged over the last two years with the Dodgers and is an above-average player. He won't excite you, but he won't give games away. Any team hoping to wins needs a Jamey Carroll as a complementary piece.
SS: Clint Barmes
Barmes is a criminally underrated shortstop who could solve a lot of problems for many teams -- the Brewers are one that springs to mind. The now-32-year-old was popular back in 2005 when he busted out in Colorado and fast becoming a darling of fans and media alike when he broke his left shoulder falling down a flight of stairs after carrying deer meat. Since then, Barmes has become a slick fielder who can't quite hit with the bat. But in the depressed scoring of the last two years, Barmes' bat has started looking better in comparison and hit .244/.312/.386 for Houston last year, numbers not that far off an average shortstop these days. And his fielding. Oh, his fielding. Bottom line, he can flat pick it and will come cheap enough that whatever production he gives will outstrip what he is being paid. Barmes is an average- to below-average hitter with superior defense and is head and shoulders better than, say, Yuniesky Betancourt.
LF: Felix Pie
Pie was once supposed to solve the Cubs' problems in center field and usher in a new era of baseball in the Windy City. Instead, he got drummed out to Baltimore and for a while there, it looked as if he was yet another in a line of players that got away from Chicago. Except that Pie hit .220/.264/.280 in 175 at-bats after finally being primed to take over a starting role after slashing .274/.305/.413 in 308 PA in 2010. There's no getting around how bad Pie's 2011 was, but he will turn 27 at the beginning of February and his talent didn't just disappear overnight. Pie will struggle to find playing time on even rebuilding clubs, but it's too early to give up on the lefty.
CF: Coco Crisp
In a thin crop of free agents, it's easy to scan by Crisp's name and think he's just another name in a motley crew of unappetizing players. But Crisp could be a dynamic center fielder finally getting back in the groove for the first time since receiving the tall task of replacing Johnny Damon in Boston. Prior to linking up with Oakland for 2010, Crisp had never stolen more than 28 bases in a season (2007 Red Sox). He swiped 32 in 2010, and anted that all the way up to 49, leading the league and being caught just nine times. In addition, playing in his cavernous home stadium doesn't do justice to his bat, which has been the best over the last two seasons since 2004-05 with the Indians. Don't look past this guy.
RF: Magglio Ordonez
Ordonez may opt for retirement after breaking his right ankle for a second time, but if he tries to give it another go next season, Ordonez could be the perfect salve for a team looking to plug a gap in the outfield or DH. Ordonez's final season line of .255/.303/.331 in 357 plate appearances looks horribly weak, but he hit .354 from Aug. 12 on, and was 5-for-11 in the ALDS. The 37-year-old reported that his surgically-repaired right ankle, which hadn't been feeling right after breaking it in June 2010, was finally starting to come around. Then he broke it again in the ALCS. If he can bounce back, it appears as if Ordonez has enough left in his bat to hit over .300. However, if he chooses to play again, he may be forced to sign late and prove to teams he's fully healthy.
SP: Hisashi Iwakuma
Don't forget about Iwakuma, who could have been pitching for the Athletics in 2011 had negotiations between Oakland and Iwakuma's agent, Don Nelson, not broken down. This season, the lefty is free to negotiate with any team as he is now an unrestricted international free agent. He appears likely to jump stateside, and will draw quite a bit of interest from teams. Once the top names on the starting pitching market sign, Iwakuma could quickly rise to the top of the list. He's known for his control and walking just 19 in 17 games in Japan ball in 2011. The 30-year-old finished with a 2.42 ERA in 119 innings after spending two years as a reliever. Teams may be concerned about his ability to handle the demands of a MLB rotation as opposed to Japan, where starters take their turns once a week.
RP: Mike Gonzalez
It seems as if Gonzalez's luster has diminished in recent years not just because of injury problems, but thanks to pitching in Baltimore. You'd do well not to overlook Gonzalez, however, who throws hard. From the left side, that's rare to see, and when healthy, the 33-year-old can be one of the most dominant relievers in the league. Gonzalez pitched a total of 53 1/3 innings in 2011, split between the Orioles and Rangers. His strikeout rate, while not as high as recent years, still remains high and he displayed some of the best control of his career this past season as well and a subsequent dip in fastball velocity was not recorded. In Texas, he took on the role of a lefty specialist which was the best way to use him in '11, but this is a guy who can function as a top-notch setup man for any team in the league.
CL: Brad Lidge
Lidge was supposed to spend the entire year as the Phillies' closer, but that changed when injuries struck yet again. Fortunately, Lidge was able to recover to pitch 19 1/3 innings down the stretch and proved he could still strike out batters despite a fastball that couldn't reach over 90 and relying too often on his slider. With an entire offseason to rest, it's possible Lidge could reclaim some of his lost fastball velocity, which would reduce his reliance on a slider. Control is a problem, as evidenced by his 13 unintentional walks (against 23 strikeouts), but he showed improved control in September, walking just four and punching out 11 in 9 1/3 innings. That was a major step forward from August, when he walked seven in 7 1/3 innings. There are a lot of closers on the free agent market, so Lidge will struggle to find a team that could give him a shot to close, but could end up as baseball's comeback player of the year in 2012 if all breaks right.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Aaron Hill, Brad Lidge, Chris Snyder, Clint Barmes, Coco Crisp, Evan Brunell, Felix Pie, free agency, free agent tracker, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jamey Carroll, Lyle Overbay, Magglio Ordonez, Mike Gonzalez, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 4:49 pm
By Evan Brunell
For all news, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.
The first-base crop of free agents is extremely top-heavy, boasting the best player in the game in Albert Pujols. Even without Pujols, the first-base list would still be star-studded, as 27-year-old Prince Fielder is also hitting the market and should command a sizable deal. However, after that, it drops off significantly, and by the end of the top 10 list, we're looking at someone who hit .194.
1. Albert Pujols: What more can you say about Pujols that hasn't been said already? He's the best hitter the 21st century has seen, and he may hold that mantle for quite a while. Pujols may be 31, but that shouldn't stop him from commanding a hefty contract given his strong bounceback after starting the year poorly, plus his dazzling defense. There's been a lot of talk about Pujols' failings in dealing with the media, but neither Pujols nor whichever team he ends up with will care much about his approach to the media. The team will care about homers. Pujols will care about money and winning. The media is just a sideshow.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
2. Prince Fielder: Fielder is four years younger than Pujols, but he'll struggle to match what Pujols gets -- not just because Pujols is an elite, once-in-a-generation hitter (which, admittedly, Fielder could become), but because there are conditioning issues with his weight that lend comparisons to a late-career breakdown like Mo Vaughn. However, the lefty has appeared in 485 of a possible 486 regular-season games over the last three years, so it's hard to get too worked up about it. He's going to have a robust market and may even sign in advance of Pujols.
Potential teams: Same as Pujols -- Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox
3. Carlos Pena: Pena can hit balls a long way. It's too bad he can't make contact regularly. But there are far worse first-baseman one could have, and getting a 30-homer player with strong defense and leadership skills is something most teams will kill for; Pena will get a healthy contract this year wherever he ends up. Whichever teams lose out on Pujols and Fielder will gun for Pena, so his market figures to be late-developing and it may be into January before he signs anywhere.
Potential teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Indians, Twins
4. Derrek Lee: It looked as if Lee was heading the way of Vladimir Guerrero and the other aging power-hitters as of late after beginning the year in a tough spot with Baltimore. Fortunately for Lee, he got dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline and that reinvigorated him to the point where he should be able to scrape up a starting job somewhere this winter, although Lee may struggle to land with a top-flight contender. The Pirates would like for Lee to return to the team, but unless the Pirates offer one of the only starting jobs in the game, it's tough to see the righty returning.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Pirates, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs
5. Casey Kotchman: Kotchman was once a promising up-and-coming first baseman that was part of a Mark Teixeira trade, heading to Atlanta from Los Angeles. That's where his career frayed, and the Red Sox picked him up on a lark. No go. After a forgettable 2010 in Seattle, Kotchman somehow bounced back in Tampa Bay to rake up a .308/.372/.422 line. However, batting average seems to be what's driving Kotchman, and that's one of the least predictive statistics anyone can use. This upcoming season will determine a lot for Kotchman and his future, but no one should invest heavily in him. Unfortunately, after the year he had and with the poor free-agent class, he could haul in a sizable deal.
Potential teams: Rays, Dodgers, Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Indians, Orioles
6. Jason Giambi: Giambi had a fantastic season as a pinch-hitter for the Rockies, helping to soften the blow when Todd Helton needed out of the lineup. Giambi smashed six doubles and 13 homers in just 152 plate appearances, an absolute wrecking ball off the bench. Who really knows what teams Giambi would sign with, but he'll certainly get plenty of offers to choose from. Wherever he lands, it'll be as a bench player although depending where he ends up, he could be in line to get at least 200 at-bats for the first time since 2009.
Potential teams: Rockies, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies
7. Lyle Overbay: Overbay looked cooked as a starting first-baseman, but a resurgence in Arizona after leaving Pittsburgh will help matters significantly, even if he played in just 18 games for the Diamomdbacks. A team desperate for a stopgap at first base could entice Overbay, but it figures that his biggest market will come as a platoon first-baseman. A return to Arizona to mentor and play behind Paul Goldschmidt makes sense. If he wants a shot to start, it'll be with a team that doesn't quite harbor postseason aspirations -- but things have a funny way of working out once options dwindle.
Potential teams: Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres
8. Ross Gload: Gload, whose career got a late start, has been plying his trade in the NL the last three seasons, primarily as a pinch-hitter for Philadelphia over the last two years. The first-baseman actually led the NL in pinch-hits in 2011, although you wouldn't know it given his poor statistics. Gload should have no problem getting a pinch-hit gig somewhere in the senior circuit this offseason and might even be enticed back to the AL if he can get a decent amount of playing time. Gload and the remaining names on the list could conceivably end up with any team, as their role would fit virtually anywhere as a backup.
Potential teams: Any team
9. Russell Branyan: Branyan is a retirement candidate. At age 35, he took a significant step back as his trademark power was missing all year. While his .197 batting average isn't all that far from his .232 career average, that's not why teams kept playing him. No, Branyan got at-bats because of his power, but he only banged five homers and seven doubles in 146 plate appearances all season. Branyan hit 56 homers combined from 2009-10, so teams will still be willing to give him a shot. He could be entering the phase of his career where he hangs on for a few more season as a pinch-hitter in the NL.
Potential teams: Any team
10. Jorge Cantu: Cantu's going to have a lot of trouble securing a major-league deal after the awful season he had, appearing in just 55 games for the Padres and hitting .194/.232/.285 before mercifully being released and finishing out the year in the Rockies' minor-league system. It's quite the fall for the 29-year-old who hit 29 homers in 2008. Over the last two years, Cantu has regressed significantly and will have to play his way onto a team this spring on a minor-league cont
Potential teams: Any team
Others that could be first basemen: Mark DeRosa, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hinske, Conor Jackson, Xavier Nady Juan Rivera, Nick Swisher, Josh Willingham.
Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Albert Pujols, Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, Derrek Lee, Evan Brunell, free agency, free agent tracker, Jason Giambi, Jorge Cantu, Lyle Overbay, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, Prince Fielder, Ross Gload, Russell Branyan
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 5:22 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...Team name: Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 94-68, 1st place NL West. Lost to Brewers 3 games to 2 in NLDS
Manager: Kirk Gibson
Best hitter: Justin Upton -- ..289/.369/.529 with 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB
Best pitcher: Ian Kennedy -- 21-4, 222 IP, 33 GS, 2.88 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 198 SO, 55 BB
2011 SEASON RECAP
Nobody expected much from the Diamondbacks and even when they did surprise by leading the National League West, nobody thought they could hold off the Giants. Not only did they hold off the defending champs, they left them in the dust. The Diamondbacks were ruthless in making decisions early in the season, demoting or just flat-out getting rid of players that didn't produce, like Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Wade Miley and Russell Branyan. The Diamondbacks won 16 of 18 in late August and early September, while Ian Kennedy became a legitimate Cy Young candidate. The team also discovered it has the makings of a stout rotation with Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter. They even survived the season-ending injury to Stephen Drew, winning despite his absence.
The Diamondbacks are in a pretty good situation. So it seems they have some good, young talent that's not going to cost too much -- something that's very important to the Diamondbacks' front office. The team that they have should only get better and develop. There are small spots to fill, but nothing huge. And with Stephen Drew coming back, the team should be even better than they were in the playoffs.
FREE AGENTSRHP Jason Marquis
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Aaron Hill ($8 team option)
LHP Zach Duke ($5.5 team option)
OF Xavier Nady
SS John McDonald
C Henry Blanco ($1.5 mutual option)UTIL Willie Boomquist ($1.1 mutual option)
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Heilman, Aaron Hill, Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Quentin, Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra, Henry Blanco, Ian Kennedy, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Josh Willingham, Justin Upton, Kelly Johnson, Kirk Gibson, Lyle Overbay, NL West, NLDS, R.I.P., Russell Branyan, Stephen Drew, Wade Miley, Xavier Nady, Zach Duke
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:28 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
For the fourth straight game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks hit a grand slam, and for the second time in those four games it was Roberts, giving the Arizona a 4-1 lead in the first-inning. Chris Young followed with a solo homer to give Arizona a 5-1 lead after one.
That's a pretty good sign for the Diamondbacks, who were 83-8 this season when leading by two or more runs.
The Diamondbacks became just the fifth team in Major League history to hit two grand slams in one playoff series and the first since the 1977 Dodgers to do it in back-to-back games.
On Wednesday, Arizona's Willie Bloomquist singled to start the inning before Aaron Hill popped up, Justin Upton walked and Miguel Montero singled. However, unlike Game 1 when the Diamondbacks were aggressive in sending Bloomquist to the plate, third base coach Matt Williams held him up to leave the bases loaded with one out and Goldschmidt, the hero of Game 3, came to the plate.
Goldschmidt was starting at first in the place of Lyle Overbay despite hitting just .162/.279/.378 against lefties. But he was coming off a good game and manager Kirk Gibson put him in the lineup against Randy Wolf. It was the perfect setup to the perfect story, except he looked at a 1-2 pitch low and inside that home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called for the third strike.
Wolf got no such help from Dreckman or anyone else when he tried to throw a 2-1 changeup past Reynolds, who hit it just to the fair side of the left-field foul pole for the Diamondbacks' fourth grand slam in as many home games. Roberts also hit the walk-off grand slam on the penultimate day of the season.
The Diamondbacks had six grand slams during the season, including one in each of the last two games of the season. But it's not just home runs when the Diamondbacks have the bases loaded, as a team Arizona hit .387/.421/.649 with bases loaded during the regular season.