Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Agent: Mark Buehrle open to any team

BuehrleBy Evan Brunell

It's always been assumed that free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle would either return to the White Sox or bolt for his hometown Cardinals, but his agent assured Fox Sports that the left-hander is open to joining any team.

Buehrle should be in demand this winter as he is coming off his 11th straight season of at least 200 innings pitched. He doesn't have the stuff that makes him an ace, but he can chew up innings and with his sharp control, the 32-year-old will be coveted. Agent Jeff Berry is doing what he can to open up Buehrle's market and says he may even prefer to pitch in the National League.

“Mark is not going to eliminate any team from free-agent consideration,” Berry said. “But having pitched 12 years in the American League, the National League certainly will have some appeal to him. There is no DH. It’s obviously less of a hitter’s league. And Mark has had great success in his career against the National League.”

Buehrle has a career 3.32 ERA against NL teams, running up a 24-6 record in 271 innings with 164 strikeouts and 50 walks. Compare that to his career, which sports a 3.83 ERA. It's no surprise that Buehrle is more successful against the NL than AL as you can say that about virtually any pitcher. But the soft-tosser may especially be suited to the NL and if he lands in a situation where his home stadium is a pitcher's park as opposed to Chicago's launching pad in U.S. Cellular Stadium, he could be in line for some impressive seasons.

The only NL team that has been attached to Buehrle other than his hometown Cardinals are the Marlins, who are on the hunt for a starting pitcher and have as manager Ozzie Guillen, who oversaw Buehrle in Chicago for eight seasons.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:05 pm
 

Retired La Russa: 'Need to get back in baseball'

La Russa

By Evan Brunell


"I need to get back in baseball somewhere," recently retired manager Tony La Russa said on ESPN Chicago, as transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com.

Despite retiring, La Russa isn't ready to completely hang up the cleats. Rather, he'd like to be involved somewhere.

“I think I don’t really want to retire immediately and just make a ceremonial visit here and there," he said. "I don’t want some kind of idle job that doesn’t do anything. I like responsibility. I like to wake up in the morning with something to do, so if there's some fit there somewhere, hopefully you get an opportunity then you prove you are really willing to work and you have something to contribute and then maybe you get more responsibility. That’s the way it is supposed to be, so I am not asking for any favors; just a chance.”

It sounds as if while La Russa is done managing, he isn't necessarily done being involved in baseball operations. Retiring as manager allows La Russa to do something different, as well as travel less and not have to worry about the day-to-day demands of a manager, but it's clear that his fire has yet to wane, if it ever will. La Russa, who began his career as White Sox manager, has been linked to the White Sox in an advisory capacity given his strong relationship with Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but La Russa doesn't see a fit in Chicago given the talent in the front office.

"I think they are really set up. I think that’s the problem," La Russa said. "You don’t want to go into some place that already has it figured out. They got it figured out.”

While La Russa waits for a job, he will be dropping the ceremonial first puck on Friday in an NHL game, when the St. Louis Blues host the Vancouver Canucks.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:55 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Cubs will not interview Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg

By Evan Brunell


Ryne Sandberg is not interviewing for the Cubs' opening at manager, he confirmed to the Chicago Tribune.

The forner Cubs star, who left the organization last season after Mike Quade was chosen to lead Chicago, is now hoping he lands somewhere else as manager, if not the rival Cardinals.

"I hope the opportunities arise, and that's one of them," he said. "I'm still optimistic and excited about the possibilities."

Sandberg found this out when president Theo Epstein, proactive as always to head off potential stories, reached out immediately to tell the Cubs Hall of Famer he was not a candidate.

"Moments after the press release came out, Theo called me and left me a message stating Mike Quade was not going to be back in 2012," Sandberg said. "And he said they were going to do a managerial search of four to five candidates and that major league coaching experience or managing experience was one of the criteria that they were going to follow, and I would not be a candidate for that job.

"I called him back and told him I'd received the message, appreciated the phone call even though it wasn't owed. But it was appreciated. I wish him all the best and good luck in his new job."

Sandberg didn't seem to be bitter about the situation, and was looking ahead to the Cardinals and perhaps even Boston.

"I'm still hopeful for an opportunity to get to the major leagues somewhere," he said. "I don't know what else I need to do after this season. I'm comfortable with that, and still hopeful for a chance."

Actually, one thing Sandberg could do is become a third-base coach in the majors for a couple of seasons. That would cement his chances to manage. Even Epstein told him as much -- if he had major-league coaching experience, he would be considered. That's a logical next step for Sandberg to take. And why not back with the Cubs? Somewhere, some team should be willing to have Sandberg as a major-league coach, as long as Sandberg is willing.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:25 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Cardinals start with Francona in manager search

FranconaBy Evan Brunell

The Cardinals begin a 10-day process to find Tony La Russa's successor as manager, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be among those interviewed, as will former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg, who was passed up for the Cubs job last season and will not be considered this year. The Cardinals received permission from Sandberg's employer, the Phillies, to interview for the Cardinals opening. Also joining Francona in interviews is longtime St. Louis third-base coach Jose Oquendo, who would be the best internal replacement.

Sources also say GM John Mozeliak will interview St. Louis Triple-A Chris Maloney, minor-league instructor and former Cardinal catcher Mike Matheny and White Sox coach Joe McEwing. Rays manager Joe Maddon is apparently not in play, with sources saying the club has not asked permission to interview Maddon. Maddon's bench coach, Dave Martinez, also has not received an invitation, although that could change. What Mozeliak will prioritize, along with chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., as the head the search committee, will be a good working relationship with Mozeliak and a track record of player development.

The Cards are hoping to name their manager by Nov. 14's GM meetings, which is a more aggressive timetable than Boston has laid out for its own search. The Red Sox have interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers bench coach Dale Sveum, the latter interviewing on Wednesday. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington wants a new manager by Thanksgiving. Cubs GM Theo Epstein fired Mike Quade on Wednesday, so he is entering his own search as well.

"They know what they're doing," outgoing manager Tony La Russa said on Wednesday, saying he would only offer his opinion if asked. "I expect they'll make a sound choice."

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Predicting where baseball free agents will sign

Free agents

By Evan Brunell


This winter's free agent crop bolstered by some elite players hitting the market, led by Albert Pujols, who will hold the mantle of being the best player of the 21st century for quite some time. Where he ends up has been one of baseball's burning questions for two years, and the answer is finally here... and if my psychic chops are up to par, I have him returning to St. Louis.

As many as four contracts totaling $100 million could be handed out with Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson all vying for the honor. (Five if you include CC Sabathia extending with New York for $122 million). For comparison, last winter saw three players score at least $100 million in their new deals -- Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth.

Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Mark Buehrle round out the list of 10 predictions. Hang onto your hats, because there are a couple interesting destinations I have players ending up in. If you can't get enough free-agent news, check out the predictions by all CBSSports.com experts. Or how about the free-agent tracker?

Let's get to it.

Free Agency Predictions
Player Prediction
1B Albert Pujols Cardinals
It's just too difficult to see Pujols leaving the Cardinals, and it doesn't work in his favor that many teams that could have paid for his services are all set at first base. Given the increasing likelihood that Pujols won't match Alex Rodriguez's record contract of 10 years and $275 million, it will put him squarely in St. Louis' price range, but the club has to be ready to boost its offer. If the Cards dig in and aren't willing to compromise, he will leave town. Skipper Tony La Russa retiring does throw a wrench into things, but in the end, why would Pujols leave a place he is beloved and knows he will win?
Three other possibles: Cubs, Nationals, Rangers
1B Prince Fielder Mariners
The Mariners have money -- they just haven't had an impetus to spend it just yet. But with a rapidly improving rotation, the M's are not far off from contention and can build around Fielder and second baseman Dustin Ackley, as well as Justin Smoak (they hope). Seattle's offense has been so horribly bad the last two years they really can't afford not to go after a big thumper that can change the complexion of the lineup. Having the DH works in Seattle's favor too, as they have a place to play him in the future, if and when he becomes even more of a liability on D. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik was the one to draft and develop Fielder in Milwaukee, but has yet to really play in the free agent market since taking over the team.
Three other possibles: Orioles, Brewers, Nationals
SS Jose Reyes Giants
The Giants need a hitter and can withstand the loss of Carlos Beltran in the outfield, so expect the team to focus on a position of dire need by signing Reyes. The club has pretty much zero shortstop depth, which was exposed last year with a decrepit Miguel Tejada falling out of favor and the club cycling through shortstops the rest of the way. Reyes would be a dynamo for the Giants and would give the club the perfect leadoff man. The club has never been one to worry about losing a draft pick as compensation, and could actually work in their favor by giving them more money to allocate to Reyes.
Three other possibles: Mets, Giants, Nationals
SP C.J. Wilson Royals
Wilson is a solid pitcher, but he's a bit overrated. Teams trying to get over the hump and contend again will overlook his deficiencies to make a statement, and Kansas City is motivated to find a major-league starting pitcher that can top the rotation and bring the youngsters along. The Royals will have money to spend and can also entice Wilson by showing him how the team is on the rise, and how his signing will allow them to trade some minor-league pitchers for major-league help. He should land an A.J. Burnett/John Lackey-type deal of five years and north of $80 million.
Three other possibles: Nationals, Angels, Yankees
CL Jonathan Papelbon Papelbon
The Red Sox can't afford to let Papelbon go, not after having one of his best seasons to date. There are reports that Papelbon started emerging as a leader in 2011, which Boston obviously needs following the wake of clubhouse issues last season. In addition, retaining Papelbon allows Boston to keep Daniel Bard in his setup role where he is more valuable than he would be as a closer. Papelbon will be looking for lots of money, but will be well within Boston's price range. The club has enough issues to deal with without worrying about having to fill the closer's spot, which is one of heavy responsibility -- something Papelbon craves.
Three other possibles: Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays
RF Carlos Beltran
Marlins
The Marlins have money to spend and will be looking to make a splash heading into their new stadium. Beltran would be a popular name, especially given he is a native Puerto Rican, which the Marlins have tried to cultivate as a fan base (and have held regular-season games in Puerto Rico). There isn't any space currently in the Marlins outfield, but nothing that can't change to accommodate Beltran. Despite Beltran's advanced age, he would fit nicely in the order on a team expected to contend.
Three other possibles: Giants, Red Sox, Pirates
CL Heath Bell
Phillies
I was tempted and go rogue here, tabbing the Phillies. I do believe that Philadelphia would love Bell to be its next closer, especially if Ryan Madson doesn't return. But I can't ignore the fact that Bell would be willing to accept arbitration to stay with the Padres, which would lock him to San Diego for just one season. The small-market Pads would love having that flexibility of an elite closer under contract for just one year. Despite Bell wanting a three-year deal, the mere fact he would accept arbitration -- and said so publicly -- means that a deal will happen between both sides.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Dodgers, Twins
SS Jimmy Rollins
Phillies
Rollins probably won't get the five-year deal he thinks he deserves, but Philadelphia can't afford to mess around here. Rollins is very popular in town and while his MVP days are behind him, he is still a very good shortstop. The Phillies could be in serious trouble if Reyes and Rollins sign elsewhere, as the club has very poor infield depth. Not getting Rollins back (or Reyes as a fallback) would force the team into making a trade for a shortstop, and this is a club that needs to start hanging onto its minor-league talent. With an entire infield in flux, it makes no sense for Philadelphia to compromise what depth they have in prospect Freddy Galvis, who is 21 and looks to need at least another full year in the minors.
Three other possibles: Giants, Brewers, Mariners
Buerhle SP Mark Buehrle Yankees
The White Sox are "letting the kids play" in 2012, but that doesn't necessarily signal a rebuilding. There is enough talent on the squad that, if things break right, could leave Chicago in contention. Any deal would likely be predicated on what Chicago does with Carlos Quentin and John Danks, the two prime pieces that could be traded. Buerhle's loyalty factors in here too -- he wants to either be a White Sox or pitch for his hometown Cards. But if St. Louis resigns Pujols and closes its checkbook and the White Sox raze the team, he'll have to seek employment elsewhere. The guess here is Buerhle comes back, even if a ring isn't likely.
Three other possibles: Yankees, Cardinals, Marlins
CL Ryan Madson Blue Jays
The Blue Jays need a closer and are an up-and-coming team. Their market is large, and that club can eventually support a payroll north of $100 million. While Toronto is better off keeping much of its finances in its back pocket until a better free-agent class, Madson makes too much sense for the Jays to pass up. His market will be depressed thanks to the amount of closers available in free agency, plus the fact he doesn't have a history of closing beyond 2011. The Jays will want a young closer, and Madson will fit the bill as one of the youngest available -- he's the same age as Papelbon, but will come at a lesser price.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 1:49 pm
 

2012 CBSSports.com free agent predictions

By Evan Brunell

Which free agents will end up where?

That's the burning question facing the CBSSports.com experts, who have submitted predictions for where some top free agents on the market will go.

Eye on Baseball's Evan Brunell further explains his predictions here, while Larry Dobrow thinks that Prince Fielder will stay in the NL Central, but move a bit south and join Theo Epstein in Chicago. Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel cheekily predicts New York and Boston will open up their wallets and dominate the market. One question, Gregg: With Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins all Yankees, where do they play!?

2012 Free Agency
Position rankings
Resident baseball columnists Danny Knobler and Scott Miller agree that Pujols will return to St. Louis and Rollins to Philadelphia, but past that it's a free-for-all. The biggest surprises? Knobler has Jose Reyes joining the Tigers, presumably shoving Jhonny Peralta to third. Scott Miller likes Reyes to the Giants, while calling for Carlos Beltran to join the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, really. Knobler, on the other hand, tabs Beltran to the Marlins.

Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder have their own surprise picks. For one, Rosecrans has Albert Pujols to the Marlins. Can you imagine? Snyder, meanwhile, is the only person to predict a shortstop heading to Seattle with Rollins apparently headed northwest. Brunell was the only other person to believe Seattle will play in the free-agent market, as Fielder heads to Seattle in his predictions.

Speaking of Fielder, no one could agree on his landing spot. He could be headed virtually anywhere in the United States. It will be a major surprise if he doesn't land at one of the places projected, but with Fielder, anything goes. The person with the biggest consensus as to his destination is closer Jonathan Papelbon, with five of seven experts predicting he'll return to Boston.

Oh, and that guy named Pujols? Most see him back in St. Louis.

2012 MLB free agent predictions
  Evan
Brunell
Larry
Dobrow
Gregg
Doyel
Danny
Knobler
Scott
Miller
C. Trent
Rosecrans
Matt
Snyder
Albert Pujols
Prince Fielder
Jose Reyes
C.J. Wilson
Jonathan Papelbon
Carlos Beltran
Heath Bell
Jimmy Rollins
Ryan Madson
Mark Buehrle

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 9:15 pm
 

Diamondbacks sign McDonald to two-year deal

McDonaldBy Evan Brunell

The Diamondbacks have reached a two-year agreement with utility infielder John McDonald, the team announced on Wednesday. McDonald will recieve $3 million total, split evenly over the two seasons.

More Free Agency
Position rankings
McDonald's signing likely means Arizona will wave sayonara to Willie Bloomquist, who was a utility infielder last season for the Diamondbacks, but started at shortstop following Stephen Drew's season-ending injury. McDonald has 13 full seasons in the majors, and less than two of these seasons were spent not as a member of the Indians or Blue Jays. McDonald came over from Toronto, whom he had played for since 2005, in an August deal along with Aaron Hill to shore up the infield defense.

McDonald should play the next two seasons in a backup role. He is known for his defense and is far from being a decent hitter. In fact, for Arizona, McDonald hit .169/.222/.203 as he swiped playing time from Bloomquist thanks to his ability to pick it. If he gets pressured into a starting role for 'Zona, you know things aren't going according to plan. But as a backup middle infielder, McDonald's defense gives the Diamondbacks one of the better options in the majors for such a role.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:06 pm
 

MLB reveals Silver Slugger winners

By Evan Brunell

Unlike Gold Glove voting every single year, winners of the Silver Slugger awards at least make sense. On Wednesday, the list of Silver Sluggers for 2011 was announced. Ryan Braun became the first outfielder since Barry Bonds (2000-04) to win four straight Silver Slugger awards when he was named to the honor as a left fielder.

Below you can view the full list of winners.

American League
C: Alex Avila, Tigers
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves
1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers
2B: Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
OF: Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
P: Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

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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