Tag:NL West
Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
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Spring primer: Arizona Diamondbacks

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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

Probable lineup
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

Probable rotation
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter

Back-end bullpen
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]

Optimistic outlook
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.

Pessimistic outlook
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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Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:11 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:39 pm
 

A unique perspective on Posey-Cousins collision



By Matt Snyder


Last May 25, Marlins bench player Scott Cousins bowled over star Giants catcher Buster Posey. The immediate result was a run scored that led to an extra-innings victory for the Marlins. In the process, however, Posey was injured and it turned out to be season-ending. He broke his fibula and tore three ligaments in his ankle.

The aftermath brought lots of backlash in Cousins' direction. At first, Posey wouldn't return his phone calls. Giants fans all over Twitter and message boards called the play dirty and threw taunts and insults Cousins' way. Those will all surely be rekindled when the Giants and Marlins face each other this season, too.

But new Giants reliever Clay Hensley has a unique perspective. He was on the Marlins when the play happened and is now playing for the Giants, so there's no worry of bias in standing up for a teammate. He was Cousins' teammate and now he's Posey's. Andrew Baggerly of CSNBayArea.com collected some really good quotes on the situation from Hensley.

On Cousins' perspective: “Awful,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “You’ve got a player, Scott Cousins, who plays hard and he’s a good guy and a good kid. He just wanted to make a play to help win a game. He’s in his home town, trying to cut a groove for himself with the ballclub. He personally felt he had no room (to slide). Nobody can say one way or the other besides him ... It was tough to watch. I know for his part of things, nobody felt worse than he did. You play the game hard, but you don’t want to hurt anybody.”

On the Marlins' locker room after the win: “It was quiet. Nobody was celebrating,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “I can guarantee you there wasn’t any, `Yeah, we got his ass!’ Nothing like that. Everybody was trying to figure out how bad it was. At the same time, Cousins was pretty distraught – wrecked, really – by it as well ... You’re playing to win every time you take the field, but baseball is like one big family. You don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

On Cousins' mindset the rest of the season: “(The collision) is something that affected him for a long time,” Hensley said (CSNBayArea). “We’d try. We'd say things. I remember I told him, `Hey, all you can do is keep your head up, keep working hard.’ That’s easy to say. I mean, this happened to him in his home city. Now we get home (to Miami) and he’s getting hate mail. It was really, really tough for him. He was definitely, really upset about the whole situation.”

Obviously Posey had a worse time last season than Cousins did, as the catcher had to rehab from a broken leg. I don't think Hensley is suggesting otherwise. But the hate in Cousins' direction is definitely unfair. Home-plate collisions are part of baseball. Just because Posey was injured on the play doesn't make it dirty. Hopefully by now all Giants fans have turned the page.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Bengie Molina officially retires with a party

By Matt Snyder

What, you didn't know that Bengie Molina wasn't retired yet? Hard to blame anyone who didn't, because he did not play at all in 2011. He just had never offically announced his retirement. Saturday night (via CSNBayArea.com), in the form of a retirement party with former Giants teammates, it happened. So he's now off the free agency market.

Molina, 37, retires with a career line of .274/.307/.411 with 144 home runs and 711 RBI in 1,362 regular-season games. He has two World Series rings (he got a ring from the 2010 Giants, even though he was traded July 1 of that season), just like his two brothers, Yadier and Jose. Bengie Molina played for the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Rangers. He won the AL Gold Glove in 2002 and 2003, when he was the Angels' starting catcher.

Up next for Molina? Take it away, CSNBayArea.com:
Next up for Molina is some traveling, fishing and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters. He wants to take a trip to see the Olympics in London. Then, in a year or two, he plans to look for a coaching position where he can make an impact. His late father, Benjamin, was deeply invested in youth baseball in Puerto Rico until the day he died of a heart attack in 2008. He was crossing the street with boxes of baseballs in his hands when he collapsed.

“I want to dedicate myself to do what my dad did: teaching kids how to play, and also how to be a better person and how to love their families,” Bengie said. “I’m going to try to pass it on.”

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:31 pm
 

Video: Jamie Moyer, 49, attempts comeback

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The CBS Evening News took a look at Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is attempting to make the opening-day roster at age 49.



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Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:16 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:24 am
 

Torre's group out of bidding for Dodgers

Joe TorreBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Torre is no longer the Dodgers' manager and it appears he won't own the team, either.

Torre and Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso have withdrawn their bid to buy the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the Los Agneles Times reports.

Caruso and Torre cited current owner Frank McCourt's refusal to include the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the deal as the reason they were pulling out of the bidding. The report notes the pair could reenter the bidding if McCourt agrees to include the parking lots.

With the Torre-Caruso pairing out of the bidding, there are still thought to be nine groups bidding for the team, including one led by Magic Johnson and former Braves and Nationals executive Stan Kasten.

The agreement between Major League Baseball and McCourt allows him to retain ownership of the parking lots and even build parking structures on the land if he wants. The new owners of the team would inherit the lease for the parking lots at $14 million per season, with increases starting in 2015.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:22 pm
 

MLB Network to go live with in-game player audio

By Matt Snyder

At times in the past, I've accused Major League Baseball of being archaic in several facets of the game, so it's only fair I give credit where it's due. This is one of those times. Major League Baseball has announced that they're going to broadcast a spring training game -- between the Indians and Diamondbacks on March 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network -- with live audio from players and coaches.

Up to six players on each team in addition to the coaching staff and each base will have microphones, for an unprecedented level of in-game audio available on broadcast. There will be a slight delay, for obvious (cough, cough) reasons.

“One of the missions of MLB Network is to promote the game of baseball and act as a platform to advance the presentation of the game,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti in a statement. “The goal of this production is to bring fans closer to the game and experience it as a player would on the field. Not only are we trying to capture the player reactions and interactions, we want to present the natural sounds of the game, including the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove and the slide into a base like viewers have never heard before.”

It's not a big deal in and of itself that this is being done during a spring training game, which is basically meaningless. But let's look big picture. Obviously the league is working toward this being perfected, at which point they'll start doing it with regular season games. It's pretty cool to envision watching postseason games with this level of access on TV.

Though it didn't air last season, MLB Network did some testing with the technology, and here's a highlight package from the footage, via MLB.com video:



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Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:38 pm
 

Report: Edgar Renteria leaning toward retirement

Edgar Renteria

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former World Series MVP Edgar Renteria is leaning toward retirement, although his agent, Barry Meister told FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that the 35-year-old shortstop probably won't file official retirement papers anytime soon, leaving the door open for a return.

Renteria played for the Reds last season, but Cincinnati instead chose to go with rookie Zach Cozart as its starter at shortstop, along with backup Paul Janish. Renteria received two offers of minor-league contracts from National League teams, but he chose not go that route.

"It had nothing to do with the team," Meister told Rosenthal. "It just had to do with the feeling that this might be the right time."

Renteria won two Gold Gloves and was a five-time All-Star, as well as two World Series titles and another appearance. Although, the highlight of his career came early, when at 20 he hit the game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series with the Marlins. He then won the World Series MVP with the Giants in 2010. He also appeared in the 2004 World Series with the Cardinals.

In an interesting twist, he could be hanging up his glove in the same offseason season that countryman and fellow Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera retired. Cabrera, 37, played for the Giants and Indians last season -- and coincidentally, was the shortstop for the Reds in 2010. He was also the shortstop for the Red Sox when Boston beat Renteria's Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

What makes it really interesting is that the two, who are probably the greatest players to ever hail from Columbia, had a rivalry and didn't like each other. Here's a story from 2008 written by Jorge Arangure in ESPN The Magazine that examines and explains the feud. It's a fascinating read, but the crux is this -- Renteria felt Cabrera was jealous of him and then there's a money aspect to the entire deal.

In Cincinnati, I've dealt with both and found it odd. Teammates liked -- and even loved -- both players, they were well-respected and were also good with the media. Renteria, whom I was around less, seemed more quiet, while Cabrera is outgoing, loud and hilarious.

Renteria and his brother founded the Columbian Professional Baseball League and he is seen as a hero in Columbia, while last season Cabrera became a U.S. citizen.

If Renteria retires, he'll end his career with a .286/.343/.398 slash line, 140 home runs and 2,327 hits to go along with five All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He also played on seven playoff teams with four different franchises. Cabrera finished his career with a .272/.317/.390 slash line, 123 home runs and 2,055 hits. He never made an All-Star team, but did win two Gold Gloves and played on six playoff teams. From 2004-2010, he appeared in the playoffs in all but one of those seven seasons, making six playoff appearances with five different teams.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:23 pm
 

Rockies extend Tracy via 'handshake agreement'

By Matt Snyder

The Colorado Rockies have announced via their official Twitter feed that there's a "handshake agreement" in place to keep Jim Tracy as the manager beyond the 2012 season. His current contract is set to expire after this coming season, but with this agreement he won't be a lame duck manager.

"We expect this relationship to continue for a number of years," general manager Dan O'Dowd said in a statement. "We are building a culture of value together in a world of performance."

Tracy, 56, is 230-210 as Rockies' skipper, with a career mark of 792-782. He took over in Colorado when Clint Hurdle was fired after an 18-28 start in 2009. Under Tracy, the Rockies caught fire, going 74-42 the rest of the way, winning the NL wild card for the third time in club history. The 92 total wins were a club record. They stumbled to 83-79 in 2010 and then to 73-89 last season, finishing fourth.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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