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Tag:AL West
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:14 pm
 

Only a 'demigod' can 'outshine' Coco Crisp in CF

By Matt Snyder

Cespedes to A's
One of the better quote machines in Major League Baseball is A's outfielder Coco Crisp, and we've got an absolute beauty to pass along on this Wednesday afternoon.

The only background you need here is that the A's just signed Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes and it's possible Cespedes profiles as a big-league center fielder. Crisp is the incumbent in center.

Coco, take it away (via Susan Slusser at SFGate.com):

"I'm going to make all the plays," Crisp said. "If someone feels there's someone better than me, it's hard for me to believe. Unless he's a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field."

Yes, the only way to be better in center field than Coco Crisp is to be half-man, half-god. Coco then laid down the gauntlet for his new teammate (again, via Susan Slusser at SFGate.com): "I'm excited to play alongside Cespedes - no matter what side that may be."

The funny thing is, Crisp is a very good defensive center fielder. As usual, though, his quotes far exceed any talent he has on the baseball field.

Hat-tip: Hardball Talk

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:55 am
 

Kate Upton sells video games -- SOLD!

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Matt may have fallen in love with Justin Verlander because of his commercials for the video game MLB2K12, but me, I'll take his co-star in this commercial -- and I don't mean C.J. Wilson.



I do give Verlander, Wilson, David Price and Jay Bruce some props for their acting. It must take some serious Thespian chops to pretend to be excited by Kate Upton.

H/T: Big League Stew

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:41 pm
 

AL West will be the new AL East



By Matt Snyder


The AL East has been pretty widely regarded as the best division in baseball for a while. And with good reason, as the numbers don't lie. In the past 15 years, the AL wild card has come from the AL East 11 times. The best record has also come from the AL East 11 times. The American League World Series representative has come from the AL East nine times, while the World Series champion was an AL East team six times. Also note the '96 Yankees won it all, 16 seasons ago. Simply, it's a dominant division.

But with the events of this offseason, we're liable to see a shift in power to the west coast. Monday's Yoenis Cespedes signing for the A's wasn't a seismic shift type deal, but it shows they're focusing on winning within the next four years. Also note that the extensions of general manager Billy Beane and club president Michael Crowley are a true sign the A's will eventually get their new stadium in San Jose. When that happens, they'll start to have some extra revenue. So things should be looking up for the A's in the next few years, right? Well, not so fast.

AL West offseason
In fact, the A's might be looking like the AL West's version of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2000, the Orioles haven't finished better than third -- which happened only once -- and have come in last the past four seasons. They've also had a payroll of at least $72 million seven of the past 11 seasons. They aren't poor by any means. They just can't keep up in the monster of a division that is the AL East.

Let's see what's in store for the A's in the next decade or so, in terms of their divisional competition.

• The Angels have an owner who just shelled out over $300 million to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency. It probably didn't seem like much of a big deal to Arte Moreno, considering he's looking at a local TV contract of 20 years for $3 billion. Plus, the Angels play in the mega-market that is Los Angeles. They aren't going away.

• The Rangers paid over $50 million just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish and then paid him over $50 million more to sign. The have a front office and ownership group that can compete with anyone in terms of brains and most teams in terms of dollars. The Dallas area is a large market and the fan base is continuing to grow after two straight World Series appearances. They aren't going away, either.

• The Astros are moving to the American League West, and while it's gonna be a few years before they can compete, remember they have a new owner, Jim Crane, who likely didn't pay $680 million to own a doormat of a baseball team. Plus, Houston is one of the largest markets in America -- and the Astros had a nine-figure payroll in 2009. Don't discount how they'll play in this division come 2015 or 2016. They can spend, and will have to in order to keep up.

• The Mariners are in the 12th biggest market in MLB, which isn't bad at all. But they'd be at risk of falling far behind if not for a lucrative TV deal in their near future. Last week, a USA Today report noted the Mariners are among a handful of teams ready to cash in with a mega-TV deal like the Angels just did. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners can opt out of their current local TV deal with Root Sports and hit the open market. The Seattle Times also pointed out that the Mariners have trimmed their bottom line to the point that the only long-term investment is the reliable ace Felix Hernandez. So they could be positioning for a major strike within the next few years, after landing the aforementioned lucrative TV deal.

The process is going to be gradual, especially and obviously with the Mariners, Astros and A's.

Just don't be surprised if a decade from now the AL West is viewed as the best division in baseball. The resources are all falling into place for a westward move in the balance of league power.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Cespedes discusses A's, Marlins, coming to USA

By Matt Snyder

Cespedes to A's
The big news in the baseball world Monday was the signing of Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes. He ended up with Billy Beane's Oakland A's, not the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs or Detroit Tigers.

Cespedes is a 26-year-old outfielder. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba. He hit .458 in six games during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

After the signing Monday, Cespedes spoke to MLB.com about his new deal to play in America. Here's what he had to say, again, via MLB.com:
"I am super happy because it's been a dream of mine for a long time," Cespedes said. "To leave my country and play in the big leagues is what the goal was. My family is really happy, too. They are living their dreams through me."

"My first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season, and little by little, I'll make more goals," Cespedes said. "I've been preparing every day for this and I 100 percent believe that I am ready for the Major Leagues. I have a lot of international experience and experience at a high level. I'm very confident in my abilities."

"Miami was a great visit," Cespedes said. "I had a good time. I ate with the team president and other people in front office. They were nice and it was a great experience, but the A's were for me."

"It was a great process, training and working out for teams," Cespedes said. "It was difficult decision to leave Cuba, but I'm really excited with how things worked out. I saw a bunch of teams and they saw me, too, but Oakland was the best for me."
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Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:50 pm
 

A's agree to 4-year, $36M deal with Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


In a shocker, the Oakland A's have agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal worth $36 million, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports. CBSSports.com has also confirmed that Cespedes has been cleared by the U.S. Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, meaning he's free to sign his deal with Oakland.

The Marlins were reportedly the most aggressive -- and obviously the most public -- of the bidders for the 26-year-old center fielder. The Cubs, White Sox, Indians, Orioles and Tigers were also interested in signing him. The A's were mentioned last week as having some interest in Cespedes, but were never seen as the front-runner. However, in the end the Marlins offered Cespedes the same amount of money as the A's, but over two more seasons. The Marlins offer, according to Heyman, was $36 million for six years, not the $40 million being reported by some. The A's deal precludes the team from offering Cespedes arbitration, meaning he will become a free agent after the 2015 season at the age of 30.

Oakland, it should be noted, made a strong bid for Aroldis Chapman two years ago when he signed with the Reds.

The A's signed center fielder Coco Crisp to a two-year, $14 million deal this offseason with an option for 2014. Some, though, have wondered if Cespedes isn't more of a corner outfielder than a center fielder, so he could move and the team could leave Crisp in center. Oakland, though, also added Josh Reddick and Seth Smith to its outfield this offseason.

Cespedes, though, is expected to need some time in the minors, but at $9 million a year, he's unlikely to spend much time in the likes of Sacramento, Midland or Stockton. He struggled in his showing in the Dominican Winter League, but he still has a combination of raw power and great speed.

Tim Brown of Yahoo.com first reported Cespedes had chosen to sign with the A's.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:53 pm
 

Teammate honors Halman with shirts

Greg Halman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When Mariners pitchers and catchers reported to the Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday morning for physicals, each locker had an orange shirt inside. On the front, was a picture of a Great Dane and on the back had the number 56 and the name Halman, along with a quote from Jackie Robinson:
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
Mike CarpThe shirts were a tribute to Greg Halman, the Seattle outfielder killed this past offseason and made by the Mariners' Mike Carp, Halman's close friend.

"He impacted so many lives, it's incredible," Carp told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "I only knew him for a short time compared to a lot of other people. But I'll never forget him. He's one of the most special people on I'll ever meet."

The Mariners are also planning on wearing a No. 56 patch on their uniform to honor Halman.

Carp's tribute was just supposed to be for his teammates, but when word got out on Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the internet on Saturday, fans wanted to know if they could get one. So, Carp and Alex Liddi, are in talks to sell the shirts at Mariners' team stores.

"I'm going to go in [Sunday] and talk to the team about it," Carp told Baker. "But I think it would be neat if we could come up with a way to sell them and use the money to help the family or give it to charity. It would be a great tribute to him."

Here are pictures of the shirt -- orange to honor Halman's Dutch heritage -- from Baker (@gbakermariners on Twitter):



This is just the basics, make sure you read all of Baker's story about how Halman helped Carp.

As soon as we find out how to get your shirt, we'll let you know.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 7:11 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 7:13 pm
 

Video: Derek Holland does the weather

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Derek Holland tried his hand at taking Will Ferrell's job during the World Series, and on Friday he took his shot at Willard Scott's gig.

Holland, the Rangers' left-hander, tried his hand at doing the weather on Dallas' WFAA. And, well, he did it in his own, usual goofy way.



Holland said he had long wanted to be a weatherman and studied journalism at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. They obviously didn't cover the green screen in his courses.

Unfortunately he can't give up his Ferrell doing Harry Caray schtick -- but I do give him credit for thinking ahead and wearing a green shirt so he could go headless. I'll also give credit to WFAA's Pete Delkus (a former Twins farmhand) for calling him out on his Ed Bassmaster impression, which got annoying, and the fact that his Caray impression was more of Ferrell than the late Cubs and Cardinals announcer. The good news, for Holland and Dallas-area TV viewers, is that pitchers and catchers report next week.

Hat-tip: Big League Stew

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:41 pm
 

Orioles won't add Manny Ramirez

Manny RamirezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Athletics, Blue Jays and Orioles had been said to have interest in Manny Ramirez -- but strike the Orioles from that list.

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Baltimore's Dan Duquette told reporters Friday that the Orioles probably won't be adding Ramirez, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.

"I don't think there's going to be a fit for Manny," Duquette said. "We've looked at that all winter and I'm not sure there's a fit there for the Orioles. I wish Manny a lot of luck, but I just don't think he fits in our ballclub right now."

Duquette said he didn't foresee the Orioles signing any more players before the team starts camp.

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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