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Tag:Torii Hunter
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:51 pm
 

Abreu says play him every day or trade him

Bobby AbreuBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Angels apparently don't have a spot for outfielder Bobby Abreu and he's not real happy about it. Abreau told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdesportesLosAngeles.com that he'd rather be traded than be a platoon player.

"I'm an every-day player. I can still be in the lineup for a Major League team," Abreu, still in his native Venezuela, told Rojas on Tuesday. "I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.

"If the Angels don't have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct [thing] to do. I won't be able to do nothing sitting on the bench."

Abreu is in the final year of his contract with the Angels and will make $9 million this season. He will turn 38 next month.

There seems to be the odd man out in the Angels' outfield, with Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos as the probable lineup. There's also the case of Mike Trout, one of the top prospects in baseball, who also plays the outfielder. The team is also crowded at DH, with Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo having to play somewhere after the team signed Albert Pujols.

Abreu told Rojas that Angels manager Mike Scioscia told him he'd like to play him in both corner outfield spots and DH, still playing most every day. But Abreu said if he's strictly a bench player, he'd prefer a trade.

"I want to play, and I believe I can help this team," he told Rojas. "But if there's no spot for me, then I would prefer to play somewhere different."

Abreu hit .253/.353/.365 last season with eight home runs in 585 plate appearances. His batting average and on-base percentage were similar to his 2010 performance (.253 batting average, .353 on-base), but his power dropped considerably, with his slugging percentage dipping to .365 and failing to reach double-digit home runs for the first time as a full-time player.

Abreu is the only left-handed hitter among the team's outfielders, which could help his case. Trumbo is also a right-hadned hitter, while Morales is a switch-hitter. Last season, Abreu hit all eight of his homers off of right handers, and hit .259/.366/.400 against right-handers and .238/.319/.279 against left-handers and he's always hit right-handers better.

Of course, Abreu can want a trade, he has very little leverage when it comes to forcing it to happen.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm
 

Spring position battles: American League West



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There's nothing like the Super Bowl to remind you that spring training is just around the corner. And with pitchers and catchers packing up their bags for Florida and Arizona, we here at Eye on Baseball will look at some of the key positional battles on tap for this spring, starting with the American League West.

Los Angeles Angels
Designated hitter: Mark Trumbo vs. Kendrys Morales vs. Bobby Abreu vs. Vernon Wells

At the end of the 2011 season, it seemed first base could be a battle for the Angels heading into 2012. That position was settled pretty easily with $240 million. The two previous candidates, Trumbo and Morales are now with BAbreu looking for playing time at DH. Add the wild card of Mike Trout possibly pushing either Torii Hunter or Wells into the DH competition and the team has a lot of players for one spot. Sure, the Angels are saying Trumbo can play third, but he's still not all the way back from an ankle injury and he hasn't proven he can handle the day-in, day-out rigors of third base (look at what it did to Kevin Youkilis last season). There's also the chance that Morales won't be healthy. There are so many variables to the Angles lineup that the only thing that seems certain at this point is that Albert Pujols will be at first base, batting third.

Oakland Athletics
Closer: Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes vs.  Fautino De Los Santos vs. Joey Devine

One of the many players Billy Beane got rid of this offseason was closer Andrew Bailey, who went to the Red Sox for three players, leaving an opening at closer for 2012. Fuentes recorded 12 saves in Bailey's spot last season, while Balfour picked up two as well. Those two veterans should be seen as the favorites, but De Los Santos and Devine could surprise. De Los Santos struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings last season, while Devine impressed in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Even if the two youngsters don't get the call after spring training, either are just one trade away from getting their shot -- and with the A's current situation, nobody in Oakland should be buying, just renting.

Seattle Mariners
No. 3-5 starters: Blake Beavan vs. Charlie Furbush vs. Hector Noesi vs. Kevin Millwood vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Felix Hernandez, of course, is the Mariners' No. 1 starter and Jason Vargas figures to be the other Mariner to start in the team's two-game series in Japan. After that, it gets interesting. Seattle signed Iwakuma to a $1.5 million contract in the offseason, so he figures to be in the rotation somewhere. Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineada trade and should be somehwere in the mix, as well. That leaves the youngsters Furbush (25) and Beavan (23), to go against the veteran Millwood (37). Furbush and Beavan showed flashes during 2011, but are hardly proven products. After stints in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in Colorado and should benefit from pitching at Safeco Field.

Texas Rangers
5th starter: Matt Harrison vs. Alexi Ogando vs. Scott Feldman

Unless the Rangers do sign Roy Oswalt, it appears the first four spots in the Texas rotation are set with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, leaving three pitchers battling for the final spot. Last season the Rangers moved Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation with some success. They're looking to do the same with Feliz this season and possibly sending Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando was 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA, but seemed to tire down the stretch. Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last season, but still has to battle for his job. And then there's Feldman, who is a long-shot here, but is used to the yo-yoing from the bullpen to the rotation. If the team does sign Oswalt, the three could be stretched out in spring, but return to the bullpen once the season starts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 8:41 am
 

Hunter, Morrison fight for Wilson on Twitter

CJ Wilson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Flight tracking is so last year -- this year's free agent trend is Twitter recruiting.

With rumors that left-hander C.J. Wilson may be down to the Marlins and Angels, a member of each team is making his case on Twitter to Wilson, who is also active on Twitter. So, we have the Marlins and Logan Morrison vs. the Angels and Torii Hunter.

Shortly before midnight Eastern on Wednesday, Hunter (@toriihunter48) tweeted Wilson (@str8edgeracer):

Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) jumped into the fray to help his team:

When the Nationals' Collin Balestar (@ballystar40) piped up about the "perfect weather" in SoCal, Morrison then responded again:

That got Hunter and Wilson to respond:

But Morrison wasn't finished with his pitch:

And, showing himself to be an amateur copy editor, Morrison also had a nice dig at a fan who tried to take a shot at him:

In the end, the Twitter recruiting isn't going to decide where Wilson ends up, dollars will. But in the meantime, it's fun to watch from the sidelines -- what else are you going to do, watch basketball?

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins



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 waivers, 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. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:11 am
 

Angels won't join bidding for Fielder, Pujols

Jerry DipotoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

While owner Arte Moreno's deep pockets and the rich California market make the Angels a perceived potential landing spot for any high-priced free agent, new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday that he probably wouldn't pursue either of the two biggest names on the free agent market, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.

"You have to be open to the possibility, but it's not something we're going to aggressively pursue," Dipoto told reporters, including the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think you're going to get a financial bargain swimming in that pool."

That pool is already $120 million deep for 2012, including the sucking vortex that is $48 million for Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu. Moreno has reportedly capped the team's spending for 2012 at $140 million.

"Right now, it creates confinement, but it doesn't necessarily have to say that way," Dipoto said. "That's where you can be creative in building a 25-man roster, by not including all 25 guys who are on it today."

Dipoto did acknowledge the team had contracted the agents for top free agent starter C.J. Wilson

However, Dipoto said he'd prefer to explore the trade market than sign free agents.

"A complete overhaul isn't necessary," Dipoto said. "There are tweaks to make, holes to fill. We'll exhaust all possibilities."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:52 pm
 

R.I.P. 2011 L.A. Angels of Anaheim

By Matt Snyder

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: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Record: 86-76, second place in AL West, 10 games back.
Manager: Mike Scioscia
Best hitter: Howard Kendrick -- .285/.338/.464, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 86 R, 14 SB, 30 2B
Best pitcher: Jered Weaver -- 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 198 K, 235.2 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Angels hung in the race all season, eventually missing out on the AL wild card by five games. They were in first place as late as July 5, and didn't really fall out of the AL West race until the middle of September. They exceeded the expectations, according to many preseason predictions, but the failure to make the postseason for the second year in a row was evidently not acceptable for owner Arte Moreno. He absolutely cleaned house in the front office. The Angels did win the AL West five out of six seasons before 2010, so the bar has been set. Moreno seemingly wants division titles or else.

R.I.P. series
2012 AUDIT

The Angles already have over $102 million committed to next season in player contracts, and that's without including the salaries of arbitration players like Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo, who are certainly going to have raises. Basically, the Angles are going to have somewhere around $125 million in payroll before even looking at possible free agents. Thus, if they want to make a big splash, the new general manager, whoever it is, will probably have to back-load contracts. The more likely path is to look for internal improvement from the young players like Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Walden, Mark Trumbo and uber-prospect Mike Trout. Getting Kendrys Morales back healthy would be a huge boost as well. The Angels do have a strong minor-league system, but most of the help is a few years away.

FREE AGENTS

Russell Branyan, 1B
Joel Pineiro, SP
Fernando Rodney, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

If any big contracts are handed out, it needs to be a younger free agent that has proven durable and consistent. Huge contracts to veterans past their prime are stifling the organization right now.
  • Hire a general manager who stops trying to fill short-term holes with huge salary veterans. High-salary players are OK for a large market team like the Angels, but that's seemingly been the only answer in recent seasons.
  • Let Trout play everyday. Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu can share two spots in some fashion while occasionally filling the designated hitter spot (but I have a different plan for that). The Wells trade was a disaster and Abreu makes far too much money for his current level of production, but what's done is done. You can't let salaries dictate playing time.
  • Keep Morales at designated hitter for the entire season. Trumbo can play first and Kendrick can fill in when Trumbo gets days off. Morales' leg injury was obviously devastating, so the Angels should do everything possible to keep his bat in the lineup. One of the offense's biggest problems was that -- while there are several really good hitters -- the lack of one big bat hurts. Trumbo hit 29 homers, but his OBP was a horrible .291. Until Trout is ready to be a superstar, and remember, he's only 20, Morales has to be "the guy" for the Angels. So protect his health.
  • Hank Conger is only 23 and was a good hitter in the minors. Jeff Mathis is an awful hitter, but Scioscia keeps him as the primary catcher because he's in love with his defense -- it's why the Angels traded Mike Napoli. Conger should at least get a lot more of a look behind the plate, but who knows if Scioscia will let that happen.
  • What money the Angels do have will probably be spent on a one-year starting pitcher. They won't be breaking the bank or anything, but they don't need a front-line ace. They have two, and Ervin Santana is a fine No. 3. Pineiro coming back would be an option. Otherwise you're looking at Jason Marquis or Jeff Francis types. At that point, it's possible the new GM just saves the money and goes with Jerome Williams again. There's no reason to spend more money on a marginal upgrade. Garrett Richards, 23, could probably use some seasoning in Triple-A, so there is only a need for one year. Maybe they start the year with Williams and keep him there until Richards is deemed ready.
  • Overall, it's tough to tell what's going to happen, because the entire front office has been cleaned out and there are several large -- and probably untradeable -- contracts. They may just have to tread water for a season. The good news is the low levels of the minors are stocked with good talent and the bad contracts will all be cleared in a few years. Whoever takes the GM job is walking into a situation to thrive within the next three seasons, with a combination of a strong, youthful foundation and being able to spend big dollars on free agents starting in 2012.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 7:58 pm
 

10 finalists for Hutch Award revealed

By Matt Snyder

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has revealed 10 Major League Baseball players as finalists for the 2011 Hutch Award.

The award is given to a "player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of legendary baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson" -- who played 10 seasons for the Tigers from 1939-1953, missing a chunk due to service in World War II. He also managed the Tigers, Cardinals and Reds during a 13-season managerial career. He then died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 45 and the research center was founded by his brother.

Here are the 10 players nominated for the Hutch Award this season, as chosen by the research center's national committee:

Billy Butler, Royals
Tony Campana, Cubs
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Torii Hunter, Angels
Justin Masterson, Indians
Brian McCann, Braves
Jake Peavy, White Sox
Josh Willingham, A's

Last season's winner was Tim Hudson of the Braves. The first winner was Yankees great Mickey Mantle back in 1965. A full list of past winners can be viewed by clicking here. The winner of the 2011 Hutch Award will be revealed in February.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Juan Pierre joins 2,000 hit club

Juan PierreBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Juan Pierre's third-inning single against the Indians' David Huff on Thursday gave him 2,000 for his career. He's the 268th player in Major League history to reach 2,000 career hits and the eight player to reach the milestone this season. Pierre's the second White Sox to reach the career mark this season, joining Paul Konerko who notched his 2,000th career hit on Aug. 23.

It was only fitting that Pierre reached 2,000 with a single -- it was the 1,667 single of his career.

Also reaching 2,000 hits this season were Carlos Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Michael Young, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre and Konerko. He figures to be the last to get to 2,000 this season -- but 10 players are in striking distance to reach the mark next season -- Placido Polanco (1,947), Jason Giambi (1,945), Derrek Lee (1,940), Carlos Beltran (1,895), Andruw Jones (1,880), Jimmy Rollins (1,846), Torii Hunter (1,803), Lance Berkman (1,795) and Raul Ibanez (1,774).

Pierre, 34, is the 23rd active player with 2,000 hits, led by Derek Jeter with 3,069.

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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