Tag:AL Central
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:32 am
Edited on: February 14, 2012 10:33 am
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Royals extend manager Ned Yost

Ned YostBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Royals announced they exercised the 2013 option on manager Ned Yost, who has been the team's skipper since May of 2010.

Yost took over for Trey Hillman in 2010 and was then given a two-year extension with the option for 2013 later that season. The Royals have gone 126-163 under Yost, who has a career record of 583-665 with the Brewers and Royals.

Yost was at the helm when many of the Brewers' younger players, such as Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, came up through Milwaukee's farm system, but was fired right before the team made the playoffs in 2008. The Royals have a similar wave of young talent coming through the system and expectations are beginning to grow in Kansas City. With Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas finally in the big leagues and even guys like Wil Myers on their way, expectations are growing. The Royals will likely need to put up a winning season in the next two years or, like in Milwaukee, it'll be a different manager taking Yost's old team to the playoffs.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:09 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:55 am
 

Indians add RHP Jon Garland on minor-league deal

Jon GarlandBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Indians have agreed to a deal with veteran right-hander Jon Garland to a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league camp pending a physical, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

Garland, 32, was 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA in nine starts for the Dodgers last season. He had shoulder surgery in July, ending his season.

In parts of 12 seasons with six different teams, Garland is 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA. He won 18 games in back-to-back years for the White Sox in 2005 and 2006.

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Garland should join in the competition for the Indians' fifth starter, along with Kevin Slowey, David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McAllister.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 4:55 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 5:02 pm
 

Report: Marlins offer Cespedes $40 million

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The starting point, it appears, for Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes is $40 million.

A report on Cafe Fuerte, a Spanish-language blog based in South Florida, quotes a source as saying the Marlins offered Cespedes a six-year, $40 million contract. It also said he has no immediate plans to meet any other teams. However, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted that he's heard the Marlins' offer was less than the $40 million reported by Cafe Fuerte.

Cespedes visited Miami earlier this week and then returned to the Dominican Republic on Thursday. During his visit, Cespedes told reporters he'd like to play for the Marlins.

The 26-year-old outfielder has drawn the interest of not only the Marlins, but also the Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Orioles and Indians.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:13 pm
 

Sorry Royals fans, the Wonder Dog has been hired

Rex HudlerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Friday had good news and bad news for Royals fans outside the Kansas City area (and trust me, they exist).

The bad news? Fox Sports Kansas City officially announced (via MLB.com) they've hired Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc as the team's TV broadcast team.

The good news? MLB.TV announced that for the first time the home and away broadcasts will be available for all games.

The problem with that is MLB.TV is subject to blackout rules in the local area and the team also plays the White Sox 18 times, so for those Royals fans in Kansas City and for the 18 games with Hawk Harrelson, there's always the mute button.

The Royals ousted one of the franchises' all-time greats, Frank White, after the season because he was too critical -- and any doubt about that was erased when they hired a cheerleader like Hudler. You'd think the Royals fans that were left had paid a high enough price watching the Royals for the last 20 years or so, but no, you've got to add a duo of screamers to replace a legend with insight and integrity. It's also sad that it comes at a time when the Royals should be entertaining to watch, featuring a core of young, talented players.

Hudler and Physioc spent 11 seasons together calling Angels games. The two will actually only work 50 games together in 2012, with Ryan Lefebvre doing play-by-play for 90 games. Both Physioc and Lefebvre will do radio games, joining Denny Matthews, Bob Davis and Steve Stewart. Hudler will serve as the color analyst for 120 games, while former Royal Jeff Montgomery will do color in the remaining 20 games broadcast by Fox Sports Kansas City.

As for the MLB.TV news, the home and away feeds will be available on MLB.TV Premium for $124.99 -- up about five bucks from last season. It also includes a free copy of At Bat 12, which cost $15 last season. The regular MLB.TV subscription is $109.99. The premium edition also includes support for the Xbox 360 for the first time.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 4:59 pm
 

Former college QB Mustain signs with White Sox

By Matt Snyder

The Chicago White Sox have signed Mitch Mustain to a minor-league contract as a pitcher, according to the Associated Press. In other words, the dude who started for USC against Notre Dame in football during the 2010 season is now in the White Sox organization.

In and of itself, a football player signing as a baseball player isn't altogether that shocking. Just to piggyback on the Notre Dame mention above combined with the Chicago angle, Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija was a wideout for the Fighting Irish. And my colleague C. Trent Rosecrans posted about how many NFLers tried their hands at baseball this past weekend.

But Mustain's case is interesting, odd and kind of funny.

Like, for example, the fact that he hasn't pitched since he was a sophomore in high school. Yes, back in the spring of 2004 -- eight years ago!

Since then, Mustain has been a quarterback for Arkansas, a quarterback for USC, a quarterback for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) and then signed with the Georgia Force (Arena Football League).

So how did this come together? Apparently Mustain has a friend who played in the White Sox organization who arranged for a scout to watch Mustain pitch at the University of Arkansas.

Next, from LATimes.com:
“He hit me up on a Friday and said the scout could be here the next Friday,” Mustain said. “So I went out on Tuesday and played long toss to stretch out my arm.”

A few days later, he was on the mound in tennis shoes touching 90 mph on the radar gun.

“I was hitting my spots and my curve ball was on,” he said.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Mustain signed a contract this week and the White Sox sent him a throwing program the next day.

“I’m hoping to eventually get to 94 or 95 [miles per hour],” he said. “I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Now, the White Sox are an easy target here. After all, their farm system is ranked near the bottom by everyone who does that sort of thing -- several, like ESPN.com's Keith Law, rank it dead last. But this couldn't possibly have less risk. They likely aren't counting on much from him and if anything develops, it's gravy.

Still, the biggest takeaway of this news is that the White Sox just signed a guy who hasn't thrown an organized pitch since he was facing high schoolers in 2004. Even White Sox fans would have to admit, that just sounds funny.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Spring position battle: American League Central



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Gearing up for spring training, we're headed east -- -but not too far east, just east from west, or in other words, to the Central, starting in the American League and what positional battles will be fought in the American League Central this spring, continuing the spring position battles series.

Chicago White Sox
Closer: Matt Thornton vs. Jesse Crain vs. Addison Reed

With Sergio Santos in Toronto and Chris Sale headed to the rotation, the White Sox are once again looking for a closer. Thornton saved three games last season and Crain one, but both are more or less keeping the seat warm for Reed, the team's top (and perhaps only) prospect. Thornton, an All-Star in 2010, won the closer battle last season before blowing his first four save opportunities to start the season and he was ultimately replaced by Santos. Crain pitched well last season, but it's Reed that has a chance to be special.

Cleveland Indians
Fifth starter: Kevin Slowey vs. David Huff vs. Jeanmar Gomez vs. Zach McAllister

Ubaldo Jimenez is the team's opening-day starter followed by Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin. The fifth spot is probably Slowey's to lose. The 27-year-old right-hander was twice traded this offseason, first to Colorado and then to Cleveland. While he struggled last season (0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in eight starts and 14 games), he's a proven back-of-the-rotation starter with a 39-29 record and 4.66 ERA. He's also familiar with the AL Central. Gomez made 10 starts for the Indians last season, as did Huff, the only lefty of the group. McAllister made four starts and wasn't overly impressive.

Detroit Tigers
Third base: Miguel Cabrera vs. third base

When the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, the stated plan was that Cabrera will move to third, leaving the DH spot for Victor Martinez -- who isn't playing this year. The Tigers, it appears, are trying to keep Cabrera from getting too big to play third in preparation for 2013 when they'll really have a logjam at the position with Fielder, Cabrera, Martinez and Delmon Young. For now, it seems like wishful thinking that Cabrera can play a passable third base. But if he can, it helps the team out -- especially defensively in the outfield with Young not trying to figure out what to do with that that thing on his left hand.

Kansas City Royals
Second base: Johnny Giavotella vs. Chris Getz vs. Yuniesky Betancourt

What you've heard is true -- there's a ton of talent in Kansas City. In fact, the lineup is nearly set, except for second base and center field. Center should be manned by Lorenzo Cain, who doesn't have a realistic competitor for the spot, but second could be a question. Giavotella came up in 2011 to middling results - .247/.273/.376 with two homers and five stolen bases in 187 plate appearances, but he has a chance to take the position if he can play at the level he established in the minors, where he was a .305/.375/.437 hitter since being taken in the second round of the 2008 draft. While just 5-foot-8, he has shown the ability to make contract (striking out no more than 67 times in any of his minor league seasons) and walk nearly as much as he strikes out (192 minor-league walks to 212 strikeouts). He's not the best defender, but he's adequate. Getz is nobody's idea of a long-term answer. He hit .255/.313/.287 last season, but plays good defense. And then there's Betancourt, who was signed not add depth. The former Royals shortstop will not and should not be pressuring light-hitting Alcides Escobar, but he could add some pop to the infield at second.

Minnesota Twins
Disabled list: Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau vs. the disabled list

No two players may be as essential to their team's success as Mauer and Morneau. The two made a combined $37 million last season -- more than the entire Royals team. And, by the way, Kansas City finished eight games ahead of the Twins in the AL Central. The Twins just barely avoided being a $100-million, 100-loss team, but it took a 1-0 victory over the Royals on the last season to do it. Mauer played in 82 games, while Morneau played in just 69, with the two combining to hit seven home runs between them. Morneau's never seemed to fully recover from the concussion he suffered in July of 2010 and Mauer's had a variety of injuries, missing games with a leg injury, as well as lower back stiffness, a bruised shoulder, neck stiffness and pneumonia. Both players will play first base and DH some to try to keep them healthy, but questions will continue until either plays a productive 130-game-or-so season.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:29 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:37 pm
 

Cespedes: 'Hopefully I can play for the Marlins'

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


There are plenty of differences between life in Cuba and in the United States -- and while I'm no expert on Cuba (besides my two years living in Guantanamo Bay while in elementary school), I'm guessing the free agency process is something Cespedes hasn't experienced before.

Coming to America
One of the keys to this process is leverage -- and if he wants to play in Miami, he's doing it wrong. In Miami on Wednesday to visit the Marlins -- the first leg of what is expected to be a tour -- Cespedes arrived at the airport and briefly spoke to the assembled media.

"It would be good [to play here]" Cespedes told "half a dozen media members" at the airport (via Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel). "There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."

Or maybe I'm wrong and he doesn't want to play in Miami and he's being ultra-savvy to get the Chicago teams to up their offers.

Rodriguez also notes that in addition to the usual suspects of Cespedes admirers -- the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles and Tigers -- the Indians and Athletics are also interested in signing Cespedes.

The 26-year-old center fielder is going to sign for a lot of money, wherever it is. So far, estimates have been for as "little" as $35 million and as much as $60 million.

Cespedes donned a hard hat for his walkthrough at the almost-completed park in Miami's "Little Havana" neighborhood. In Spanish, he said he believes the Marlins "can compete for a World Series" as early as this season.

Cespedes can't sign with a team until he's cleared by the U.S. Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, but he can negotiate and agree upon a deal. His agent, Adam Katz, has said he expects Cespedes to start spring training on time, but the only question is where.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:43 pm
 

Video: Verlander's new video game commercial

By Matt Snyder

After a season in which he won the AL Cy Young and MVP, it's not a surprise that Justin Verlander landed on the cover of a video game. He's on MLB2K12, and below is what Verlander noted on Twitter was the first promotional video for the game -- along with a cameo from C.J. Wilson in his new Angels garb.

I know there will be plenty of people saying it's lame or stupid, because, you know, it's cool to be all negative and complain on the Internet. Personally, I thought it was kind of funny. You definitely won't confuse Verlander for an Oscar winning actor or anything, but I dig the facial expressions with the voice over.

Check it out:



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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