Tag:Tigers
Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:40 pm
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Cespedes says 6 teams showing 'a lot' of interest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told Dominican reporter Dionisio Soldevilia (via Twitter) that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians have "a lot of interest" in signing him.

Cespedes made his Dominican Winter League debut on Thursday night, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was hit by a pitch for Aguilas. Cespedes served as the team's DH and batted fifth in the team's 6-4 loss. Aguilas plays again Friday night.

It was Cespedes' first competitive game since last April when he played in Cuba's Serie Nacional. While the performance couldn't help Cespedes' bargaining power, it shouldn't hurt it too much. It is, as they say, a small sample size.

H/T Hardball Talk.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Verlander's secret to success is ... tacos?

By Matt Snyder

Tigers ace Justin Verlander is coming off a big year. Not only did he win the AL Cy Young and AL MVP, but he also took down Roy Halladay in our CBSSports.com head-to-head smackdown in fan voting. Obviously the latter vote is the most important feat he could ever win, too.

Anyway, the now-highly decorated pitcher was on TBS' Conan Wednesday night. Among many other things, Verlander revealed that he eats Taco Bell before every start. Wait, what? Taco Bell?

Hey, whatever works. He might as well stick with it after that ridiculous 2011 campaign. Check out the video below.



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Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:10 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:45 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?



By Matt Snyder


So, the Winter Meetings are far in the rearview, the Hall of Fame voting results have been revealed and we're just over five weeks away from the day when pitchers and catchers report to camp. With a very few free agents still lingering on the market -- I'm looking right at you, big boy -- we can't exactly start ramping up predictions, either. So let's do this instead: Argue. We'll start a series of posts where we set the table for you fans to vote in a poll and then argue below in the comments section. Who would you rather have? We'll pit two players of close value against each other and let you make the call.

Today, since it's the start of the series and we need something explosive, how about deciding if you'd rather have Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander.

The case for Halladay

Doc has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the better part of a decade. If you didn't know much about him until he was traded to the Phillies, you either live in a very limited baseball world, don't play fantasy baseball or both. All the way back in 2002, a young Halladay was going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA (a freaking 159 ERA-plus, people). The following year he won the Cy Young award. After injuries sidetracked him a bit for the next two seasons, Halladay went on a ridiculous run.

For the past six seasons, Halladay has averaged the following line (again, this is an average): 18-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 187 strikeouts, eight complete games, two shutouts and 236 innings. His finishes in Cy Young voting in those six years: 3, 5, 2, 5, 1, 2.

He's doing it in the playoffs, too, as Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason start and has a 2.37 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in 38 postseason innings. This is something you could use to denigrate Verlander, too, as he sports a 5.57 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 42 career postseason innings.

The case for Verlander

Much like Halladay, Verlander keeps his bullpen well-rested. He's averaged 238 innings pitched the past three seasons with 11 complete games and three shutouts (two of those no-hitters).

Verlander is coming off a transcendent season, one in which he won the Cy Young and MVP, while leading the leads in wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and 100-mph fastballs later than the seventh inning (among starters). Just watching this guy work leaves you in awe. How can he crank it up to 100 in the eighth or ninth after having thrown over 100 pitches in 95-degree heat in the middle of the summer? He's like a freak of nature for avoiding injury with that kind of action, too, as he's made at least 30 starts every year since being a full-time starter (when he won Rookie of the Year in 2006). And while Halladay is pretty much already guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown, it's easy to see Verlander heading that way as well.

Finally, while their salaries are a wash (both making right around $20 million per year for the next two -- Verlander for a third and Halladay has a vesting option for a third), Verlander will be 29 this season. Halladay will turn 35 in May. So if you're saying who would we want from this point forward -- which, I mean, that's pretty obvious, right? -- do you want a 29-year-old Verlander coming off the best season in recent memory or a 35-year-old Halladay?

On the other hand, Verlander's ERA hovered between 3.37 and 3.66 in his good seasons before last year -- we'll even do him the courtesy of throwing out that dreadful 2008 season. You could argue last season was his career year and he'll regress from being out-of-this-world dominant back to merely (please note sarcasm) being a stud who makes the All-Star Game and gets Cy Young votes every year.

Our call

Man, it's just such a toss up. I think I'd go with Verlander only because of age, but if he ends up being more 2009-10 again instead of the monster we saw in 2011, Halladay is better. We started off with this one because it's one of the toughest calls, pitting the current two best pitchers in baseball. There definitely isn't a wrong answer. Vote and discuss with impunity.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 11:17 pm
 

Garza-to-Tigers rumors persist

By Matt Snyder

Just over an hour ago, I surmised that the Cubs' reportedly strong interest in Paul Maholm was a true sign that they were set to deal Matt Garza (UPDATE: The Cubs have indeed signed Maholm). Sure enough, a report from Dave Kaplan of Comcast Chicago says that the Cubs and Tigers are "down the road in discussions" on a trade proposal that would send Garza to Detroit.

At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Garza just wanted to be traded in order get the rumors overwith. His name has been bouncing around the rumor mill for the better part of six weeks. The Blue Jays and Yankees have also been mentioned quite heavily in Garza rumors. In any of those respective rotations, he would most likely slot as a No. 2 starter.

If the Cubs did trade Garza and sign Maholm, the best bet is their five-man rotation for the 2012 season is set with Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Maholm and Chris Volstad (with Andy Sonnanstine as the injury replacement). The season is going to be one of transition anyway, so the Cubs would then see what they had in the latter four while Dempster would be a free agent following the season -- and perhaps he fetches a prospect or two before the trade deadline in July.

As for the Tigers, they're built to win right now, having lost the ALCS to the Rangers last season. Garza bolsters the rotation behind reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, along with Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Would the Tigers cough up top prospect Jacob Turner? There have been conflicting reports on that, but it's a good bet that's who Cubs bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have their eyes on.

Turner, 20, is a right-handed pitcher who had a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 minor-league innings last season, across Double- and Triple-A. Many scouts believe he profiles as a frontline starter once his development is complete.

Garza, 28. was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched. Between poor run support and a pretty terrible defense behind him, however, Garza pitched much better than his raw numbers would indicate.

Even if this report is inaccurate, don't expect Garza's name to be removed from rumors until either he is traded or the Cubs' season begins.

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:10 am
 

Under-30 players building Hall of Fame foundation



By Matt Snyder


T-minus two days until the Hall of Fame vote for the 2012 induction is unveiled, so we'll continue talking about the Hall of Fame in this relatively slow time of the year. This time around, we'll take a look at active players younger than 30 who have laid a foundation that makes a run to Cooperstown possible.

Now, make no mistake about it, none of these players are close to having completed their big-league careers nor are they currently close to being locks to the Hall of Fame. Still, some are well on their way and others have started a journey that may push them into the discussion in a decade or so.

Obviously things could change in just one season -- just take a look below at a certain catcher from Minnesota. Or think about how good it looked for Grady Sizemore three years ago at this time before injuries completely derailed him. And we have to understand that just a few seasons of being an elite player doesn't necessarily mean the longevity will be there -- take the cases of Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden, for example. For various reasons, careers can get off track. Still, it's fun to take a look at which young players have built a possible Hall-of-Fame foundation.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are 20 under-30 guys who could be on the right track, in alphabetical order (age in parentheses):

Hall of Fame coverage
Miguel Cabrera (28) - The first name we list might well be the most impressive case on here. In eight full seasons (he appeared in 87 games as a rookie) Cabrera has been an All-Star six times and finished in the top five of MVP voting five times. He's hit .317/.395/.555, which is good for a 149 OPS-plus. Saying Cabrera is just about halfway through his career is probably reasonable and he already has 277 homers and 984 RBI.

Robinson Cano (29) - He wouldn't have appeared on this list until the past two seasons, but Cano has grown into one of the more dangerous hitters in baseball. He'd need to continue this pace for another six to eight years at least before being a Hall candidate, though.

Prince Fielder (27) - Six full seasons -- with 39 games in '05 -- have yielded 230 homers and 656 RBI. Fielder also has an impressive .390 on-base percentage and a whopping .929 OPS (143 OPS-plus). He's already finished in the top four of MVP voting three times. Can his robust body hold up long-term? If it does, he's probably headed to Cooperstown. Baseball-Reference.com's top similar statistical player through age 27 is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.

Adrian Gonzalez (29) - Did he get started too late? Gonzalez didn't become a full-timer until '06 and wasn't a dominant force until '09. Still, four All-Star Games, three Gold Gloves and two Top 10 finishes in MVP voting. He also has a career .889 OPS (140 OPS-plus) and over 1,100 hits already.

Felix Hernandez (25) - We've seen so many pitchers flame out over the years after huge starts -- I mentioned two in the intro -- but King Felix basically only needs to stay healthy and keep his head on straight. He's already 85-67 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 1,264 strikeouts. He has one Cy Young and also finished second once. And he could conceivably pitch 15 more seasons. Even conservatively -- assuming health -- you have to say he has 12 more in him.

Matt Kemp (27) - After a runner-up finish in MVP voting this past season, Kemp inked a huge contract with the Dodgers. He could be the face of the franchise for a decade. The power-speed combo (128 HR, 144 steals) along with a Gold Glove shows he can do it all.

Clayton Kershaw (23) - He went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 248 strikeouts, an All-Star appearance and a Cy Young award last season. At 23. Enough said.

Tim Lincecum (27) - Two Cy Youngs, four All-Star appearances and a World Series ring so far. Not too shabby. Like Hernandez, Kershaw and all other great young pitchers, health and avoiding major off-field trouble are the biggest roadblocks. But there is serious foundation and talent here. I wouldn't bet against Lincecum. 

Evan Longoria (26) - He's going to be the face of the Rays for a long time and his arrival coincided with them shedding the laughingstock label. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has three All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. His 136 OPS-plus bodes well. But his average dropped 50 points last season. Harbinger or aberration? I'd guess the latter.

Joe Mauer (28) - Would've seemed a lot more firm here last year at this time. The disaster of a season doesn't erase the amazing good Mauer did through the first six-plus seasons in his career, but it raises health questions moving forward. His bat means a whole lot less if he's playing first base instead of catching.

Andrew McCutchen (25) - He already has 95 doubles, 19 triples, 51 homers and 78 stolen bases. He has an .822 OPS (123 OPS-plus). What if he gets even better and is the driving force behind a complete Pirates turnaround?

Dustin Pedroia (28) - The 2007 Rookie of the Year followed up that act with a 2008 MVP. He's hitting .305/.373/.463 in his six-year career, while he's also won a World Series ring, two Gold Gloves and been to the All-Star Game three times.

Hanley Ramirez (28) - He would've been one of the best bets two years ago, but he's now mired in a two-year decline. Goes to show how quickly things can change. Of course, there's plenty of time to get back to 2007-09 form.

Jose Reyes (28) - In six "full" seasons (we'll say at least 125 games played), Reyes has been among the best players in baseball. There's no questioning that. Can he stay on the diamond enough to make himself a viable Hall candidate? It doesn't look great, but the talent is there.

Troy Tulowitzki (27) - Tulowitzki brings in three straight top-eight finishes in MVP voting and is the premier defensive shortstop in the National League. He really only has four seasons worth counting toward a possible Hall induction so far, though, so he's gonna need about eight to 10 more.

Justin Upton (24) - The potential here is insane. He came in fourth in MVP voting last season and should only get better. Again, there are many ways for younger players to derail, but Upton has all the tools to one day hit Cooperstown. Consider me a believer.

Justin Verlander (28) - Yes, he's only 28. Verlander already has 107 wins, 1,215 strikeouts, four All-Star appearances (that is, he made the team, not pitched in the game), a Cy Young and, yes, an AL MVP. He was already one of the better aces in baseball, but then went into a new stratosphere last season. If that continues, he's a cinch to make the Hall. We'll see.

Joey Votto (28) - In just four full seasons, Votto has made a name for himself as a marquee slugger. He won the 2010 MVP and followed it up with a stellar 2011 campaign as well. His career .955 OPS (151 OPS-plus) is incredible and he added a Gold Glove last season, too.

Jered Weaver (29) - Weaver was quietly really good until last season, and you can now drop the "quietly." He was the All-Star Game starter and could have easily won the Cy Young Award, if Verlander didn't happen to be putting up a historic season in the same league. In six seasons, Weaver is 82-47 with a 3.31 ERA and 977 strikeouts. Considering his age, though, this is a pretty tall order. He'll need another eight years of dominance, I'd guess.

David Wright (29) - I think I would have felt pretty good about him after 2008, but he's fallen off a slight bit since then. Perhaps the change in the ballpark dimensions helps, in addition to some health -- for himself and teammates. Wright does already have five All-Star appearances and a .300/.380/.508 line with 183 homers and 151 steals.



I think my four best bets right now would be, in no particular order: Verlander, Cabrera, Hernandez and Upton. Could be a lot more, could be a lot less. All 20 of these guys have plenty of time to either build a resume or screw it up. History tells us there's no chance all 20 make the cut, and even guessing half of these guys getting to Cooperstown is a big stretch.

Feel free to add more names in the comments, as there definitely isn't a wrong answer in this department.

Coming Sunday: "Asterisk" guys with Hall-type resumes
Monday: 2012 Hall of Fame inductee(s) announced
Monday: Looking ahead at the 2013 first-year eligibles
Monday: Looking at the '14, '15 and '16 first-year eligibles

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 7:03 pm
 

Miguel Cabrera pleads no contest to DUI

Miguel CabreraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera will not have to serve any jail time after pleading no contest to a charge of driving under the influence in Florida last February.

Cabrera had to pay $1,436.23 in fines and court costs, as well as a year probation a six-month suspension of his driver's license, 50 hours of community service and he will ahve to attend DUI school.

His attorney, Michael Kessler, said in a statement, "Miguel Cabrera is determined not to allow this to go on any further. He wants this behind him before the start of spring training."

Cabrera, 28, was arrested last February on his way to spring training. After serving a short suspension, was ready for the regular season and recorded his first batting title, hitting .344/.448/.586 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI, finishing fifth in MVP balloting. 

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 31, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Matt Garza still drawing plenty of interest

Matt Garza

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Teams still looking for a front-line starter have apparently focused in on one guy -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza.

The 28-year-old right-hander is available as new Cubs brass focuses on rebuilding long term, while Garza's attractive not only because he went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA for the Cubs last season, but also because he's arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons.

According to several reports, the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are interested in Garza. The American League East teams are particularly interested, because Garza has braved baseball's best division as a member of the Rays.

The newest name out there available for the Cubs is Toronto right-hander Kyle Drabek, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes. Drabek was the main piece the Phillies sent to Toronto in exchange for Roy Halladay. Drabek, 24, was 4-5 with a 6.06 in 18 games and 14 starts for the Blue Jays in 2011.

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported the Blue Jays and Yankees have the type of pieces the Cubs are coveting for Garza. Word is the asking price for Garza is quite high, which would match what has been given up for the likes of Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos and Trevor Cahill, although those three are under team control for longer than Garza.

The Cubs, though, don't have to act now. They can hold onto Garza and wait until a team gets more desperate during the season. It would, however, be a bit of a surprise if Garza is still a Cub in August.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 11:19 am
 

And the Bloggies go to...



By C. Trent Rosecrans

No need to get dressed up -- but the Bloggies are here and they're best viewed in sweatpants or pajama pants. The winners, the winner get nothing. But we get to fill out a post and bring something new.

So, Monday (Part I) and Tuesday (Part II), we put up the nominees in several categories and let the fans vote. Well, we couldn't just stick to that, because we all know the internets is for disagreement over awards, so Matt Snyder and I will chime in with our picks, as well.

Best Moment(s) of 2011
Fans: World Series Game 6
Snyder: Game 6
Rosecrans: Sept. 28

Most Historic Milestone
Fans: Derek Jeter's 3,000th
Snyder: Jim Thome's 600th
Rosecrans: Jeter's 3,000th

Biggest Surprise
Fans: Cardinals
Snyder: Albert Pujols to the Angels
Rosecrans: Cardinals

Biggest Disappointment -- Individual section
Fans: Ryan Braun's failed test
Snyder: Braun
Rosecrans: Coco Crisp not sticking with the 'fro

Biggest Disappointment -- Team
Fans: Red Sox
Snyder: Red Sox
Rosecrans: Red Sox

Most Bush League Moment
Fans: Carlos Zambrano quitting on his teammates
Snyder: Carlos Guillen's celebration in the Jered Weaver/Tigers feud
Rosecrans: Zambrano

Worst Call
Fans: Jerry Meals
Snyder: Billy Butler's "inside the park" home run
Rosecrans: Meals

Biggest "Can't-Look-Away" Character
Fans: Ozzie Guillen
Snyder: Nyjer Morgan
Rosecrans: Guillen

Best Twitterer
Fans: @DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips)
Snyder: @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy)
Rosecrans: @BMcCarthy32

Biggest bonehead move
Fans: Mike Leake been caught stealing
Snyder: Leake
Rosecrans: Leake

Best celebration
Fans: None: They're all lame
Snyder: None
Rosecrans: None

Weirdest injury
Fans; Matt Holliday and the moth
Snyder: Holliday
Rosecrans: Holliday

Most impressive home run
Fans: Francisco

Snyder: Upton

Rosecrans: Upton

Best defensively play
Fans: Phillips

Snyder: Revere

Rosecrans: Revere

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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