Tag:AL Central
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:21 pm
 

Carlos Guillen returns to Seattle

Carlos GuillenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Guillen is back with the Mariners. The 36-year-old infielder signed a minor-league deal with the team on Wednesday with a big-league invite to spring training.

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Guillen spent the last eight seasons with the Tigers, making three All-Star teams, after playing parts of six seasons with the Mariners.

While he played shortstop for the Mariners and Tigers earlier in his career, he was limited to just second base, first base and DH last season, appearing in just 28 games, hitting .232/.265/.368 with three home runs. He hasn't played in more than 150 games since 2007, playing in just 177 over the last three.

The Mariners traded Guillen to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago and minor-leaguer Juan Gonzalez before the 2004 season. Santiago was a flop in Seattle, returning to Detroit in 2006, where he's played ever since.

In other minor-league deals, former Phillies reliever Chad Durbin signed with the Nationals and Rays hero Dan Johnson signed with the White Sox.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: February 1, 2012 7:57 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 8:48 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part I: IF/C



By Matt Snyder


This past weekend I posted a blog about Joe Mauer feeling healthy so far this offseason and in the comments section a small discussion about bad contracts broke out. So, I figured, why not sort through all the contracts in baseball and come up with some of the worst? We're still more than two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting, but it would be shocking to see a free agent sign for a contract that would rank among the worst in baseball -- considering the players left unsigned. So the timing works well. Let's check it out and discuss, shall we? If there's one thing baseball fans love, it's arguing.

We'll go at this in three different parts. First (now) is infielders and catchers, Thursday we'll look at the outfielders and designated hitters while Friday is pitchers.

One last note before we proceed. The way baseball's salary structure is set up, the overwhelming majority of the players can't make big bucks -- relatively speaking, of course -- until they've been in the league for about three years. Then there is arbitration, so they aren't free agents for another few years. So, most of the time, the overpaid players were underpaid -- again, relatively speaking -- when they were young studs. So you could argue it evens out. And I would in many cases. I also don't begrudge any of them for making gobs of money to play a game. They have a special talent that people pay to watch. They deserve a huge cut. So let's just try to stay on topic here, OK? Great. Let's dive in.

Catcher

Worst: Joe Mauer, Twins
Remaining contract: 7 years, $161 million

Mauer is obviously coming off a disastrous season and should improve greatly in the next few years. That being said, his health issues throughout 2011 were a bit of a wakeup call on how bad that contract will likely prove to be. He has to remain behind the plate to be worth anywhere close to $23 million per season, and what are the chances that he stays productive and healthy as a full-time catcher for the next seven years? If he moves to first base, he's a well-below average power hitter at the position and that harms the offense as a whole. While Mauer is certainly a stand-up guy and a hometown hero, it's hard to see this contract coming close to paying off for Minnesota in the end.

Honorable Mention
Victor Martinez, Tigers: This one is mitigated by the fact that the Tigers have insurance (that will reportedly pay almost half), but he's still owed $38 million over the next three seasons. In fairness to the Tigers, though, this wasn't really a bad deal when signed. They didn't know he'd get badly hurt and they'd then sign Prince Fielder to a gargantuan contract. It's just that there aren't really any other bad catcher contracts. I'm even cheating by putting Martinez here because he's predominantly a DH. I just had to list someone here.

First Base

Worst: Ryan Howard, Phillies
Remaining contract: 5 years, $125 million

The achillies injury wasn't taken significantly into account because there's no way the Phillies knew that was coming. Still, this deal was signed in April of 2010 but is just now kicking in for the start of the 2012 season. We're talking about a guy who hit .253 and only had a .488 slugging percentage last season. Jose Reyes and Shane Victorino had higher marks in slugging, which is a power stat. The 33 home runs and 116 RBI look good, but Howard is set to make $25 million per season for the next five years. He also hit just .105 with a .263 slugging percentage in the 2011 NLDS, where the Phillies lost in five games to the Cardinals due predominantly to a lack of offense. When Howard is 36 and making $25 million, it'll be an albatross of a contract.

Honorable Mention
Albert Pujols, Angels: It's actually a huge bargain for the next two seasons, when Pujols will make a combined $28 million, but by the time you get to age 42 and $30 million per year, it's pretty rough. The Angels are counting on having already made their money by then. And they very well might do so, which is why he's only in "honorable mention." We'll see.

Prince Fielder, Tigers: Similar to Pujols, the nine-year, $214 million deal doesn't look bad until several years down the road. We'll see, part two.

Mark Teixeira, Yankees: Teixiera is similar to Howard in several ways. He is actually coming off back-to-back seasons of sub-.500 slugging percentages (Howard was only below in '11) while getting most of his value from home runs and RBI, the latter of which is a team stat. The difference is Teixeira is a great defender and is owed slightly less ($115 million and change in five years). And he is completely healthy, which bodes better in his chances to right the ship these next few years.

Second Base

Worst: Dan Uggla
Remaining contract: 4 years, $52.8 million

Uggla salvaged what could have been an awful 2011 season by getting insanely hot in the second half. He ended with a career-high 36 homers, but that's about all that looks good, on the whole. He hit .233/.311/.453 with 156 strikeouts, poor defense and a career-low 22 doubles. He'll be 35 in the final year of his contract.

Honorable Mention
Chase Utley, Phillies: Past performance means he's probably earned this, but $30.575 million for the next two seasons seems awfully high for a 33-year-old coming off a .259/.344/.425 season.

Brian Roberts, Orioles: Let's just hope he finds a way to recover from all the post-concussion symptoms for the sake of his quality of life. The Orioles have far bigger problems than the $20 million Roberts will make the next two seasons.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins: OK, so $6 million for two seasons isn't much money to any team in the majors, but Nishioka was probably the worst position player in baseball last year and it's hard to see any improvement.

Shortstop

Worst: Jose Reyes, Marlins
Remaining contract: 6 years, $106 million

I don't think this was an awful signing at all, from a certain point of view. The Marlins wanted to make a splash and Reyes is the type of player that can single-handedly energize an entire lineup ... when he's in it. Yep, there's that qualifier and that's why he's here. Leg injuries -- on a player who relies on speed -- have limited Reyes to 295 games the past three seasons. Can he stay healthy for the next six? That's a tall order. Again, though, I don't think this one is egregious, and it's possible he ends up well worth the money. It's just that there aren't many bad contracts at shortstop and this represents a huge risk.

Honorable Mention
Derek Jeter, Yankees: What he means to the franchise -- in addition to how much money the Yankees can afford to spend -- says this deal isn't hurting anyone at all. But if you look at what he's likely to provide in the next two seasons, there's no way it's worth the $33 million Jeter is owed. Again, though, Jeter has earned the "pension," if you will, by this point in his legendary career.

Third Base

Worst: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Remaining contract: 6 years, $149 million

If A-Rod hit the free agent market right now, what would he get ... half that contract? He's 36, he hasn't played in more than 138 games since 2007 and is coming off a season where he hit .276/.362/.461. I have no doubt if he stays healthy he has another two or even three great seasons left in him, but he's set to make at least $20 million during the season in which he turns 42.

Also, there are marketing bonuses in the contract for several home-run milestones from A-Rod's 660th to 763rd home runs (he currently has 629). It's probably not worth getting into in this space, because if A-Rod actually breaks the home run record, the Yankees will be rolling in the promotional dough from the event(s) and aftermath.

Honorable Mention
Brandon Inge, Tigers: When the Tigers signed Fielder and announced Miguel Cabrera was moving to third base, it made Inge a $5.5-million backup for the 2012 season.

On the other hand ...

Evan Longoria, Rays: Even if the Rays pick up all their club options on Longoria -- which they surely will, barring major injury -- the All-Star third baseman is only owed $40.5 million over the next five seasons. He's only 26 years old and already has two Gold Gloves, 113 career homers, an .874 career OPS and three postseason appearances in just four seasons. He's received MVP votes in all four of his seasons at the majors. He'll make $4.5 million in 2012 while A-Rod will make $29 million. Now that is a club-friendly contract, one that is surely the envy of general managers -- and certainly owners -- across the league.

Next

Thursday: OF/DH

Friday: Pitchers

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 7:57 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 8:48 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part I: IF/C



By Matt Snyder


This past weekend I posted a blog about Joe Mauer feeling healthy so far this offseason and in the comments section a small discussion about bad contracts broke out. So, I figured, why not sort through all the contracts in baseball and come up with some of the worst? We're still more than two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting, but it would be shocking to see a free agent sign for a contract that would rank among the worst in baseball -- considering the players left unsigned. So the timing works well. Let's check it out and discuss, shall we? If there's one thing baseball fans love, it's arguing.

We'll go at this in three different parts. First (now) is infielders and catchers, Thursday we'll look at the outfielders and designated hitters while Friday is pitchers.

One last note before we proceed. The way baseball's salary structure is set up, the overwhelming majority of the players can't make big bucks -- relatively speaking, of course -- until they've been in the league for about three years. Then there is arbitration, so they aren't free agents for another few years. So, most of the time, the overpaid players were underpaid -- again, relatively speaking -- when they were young studs. So you could argue it evens out. And I would in many cases. I also don't begrudge any of them for making gobs of money to play a game. They have a special talent that people pay to watch. They deserve a huge cut. So let's just try to stay on topic here, OK? Great. Let's dive in.

Catcher

Worst: Joe Mauer, Twins
Remaining contract: 7 years, $161 million

Mauer is obviously coming off a disastrous season and should improve greatly in the next few years. That being said, his health issues throughout 2011 were a bit of a wakeup call on how bad that contract will likely prove to be. He has to remain behind the plate to be worth anywhere close to $23 million per season, and what are the chances that he stays productive and healthy as a full-time catcher for the next seven years? If he moves to first base, he's a well-below average power hitter at the position and that harms the offense as a whole. While Mauer is certainly a stand-up guy and a hometown hero, it's hard to see this contract coming close to paying off for Minnesota in the end.

Honorable Mention
Victor Martinez, Tigers: This one is mitigated by the fact that the Tigers have insurance (that will reportedly pay almost half), but he's still owed $38 million over the next three seasons. In fairness to the Tigers, though, this wasn't really a bad deal when signed. They didn't know he'd get badly hurt and they'd then sign Prince Fielder to a gargantuan contract. It's just that there aren't really any other bad catcher contracts. I'm even cheating by putting Martinez here because he's predominantly a DH. I just had to list someone here.

First Base

Worst: Ryan Howard, Phillies
Remaining contract: 5 years, $125 million

The achillies injury wasn't taken significantly into account because there's no way the Phillies knew that was coming. Still, this deal was signed in April of 2010 but is just now kicking in for the start of the 2012 season. We're talking about a guy who hit .253 and only had a .488 slugging percentage last season. Jose Reyes and Shane Victorino had higher marks in slugging, which is a power stat. The 33 home runs and 116 RBI look good, but Howard is set to make $25 million per season for the next five years. He also hit just .105 with a .263 slugging percentage in the 2011 NLDS, where the Phillies lost in five games to the Cardinals due predominantly to a lack of offense. When Howard is 36 and making $25 million, it'll be an albatross of a contract.

Honorable Mention
Albert Pujols, Angels: It's actually a huge bargain for the next two seasons, when Pujols will make a combined $28 million, but by the time you get to age 42 and $30 million per year, it's pretty rough. The Angels are counting on having already made their money by then. And they very well might do so, which is why he's only in "honorable mention." We'll see.

Prince Fielder, Tigers: Similar to Pujols, the nine-year, $214 million deal doesn't look bad until several years down the road. We'll see, part two.

Mark Teixeira, Yankees: Teixiera is similar to Howard in several ways. He is actually coming off back-to-back seasons of sub-.500 slugging percentages (Howard was only below in '11) while getting most of his value from home runs and RBI, the latter of which is a team stat. The difference is Teixeira is a great defender and is owed slightly less ($115 million and change in five years). And he is completely healthy, which bodes better in his chances to right the ship these next few years.

Second Base

Worst: Dan Uggla
Remaining contract: 4 years, $52.8 million

Uggla salvaged what could have been an awful 2011 season by getting insanely hot in the second half. He ended with a career-high 36 homers, but that's about all that looks good, on the whole. He hit .233/.311/.453 with 156 strikeouts, poor defense and a career-low 22 doubles. He'll be 35 in the final year of his contract.

Honorable Mention
Chase Utley, Phillies: Past performance means he's probably earned this, but $30.575 million for the next two seasons seems awfully high for a 33-year-old coming off a .259/.344/.425 season.

Brian Roberts, Orioles: Let's just hope he finds a way to recover from all the post-concussion symptoms for the sake of his quality of life. The Orioles have far bigger problems than the $20 million Roberts will make the next two seasons.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins: OK, so $6 million for two seasons isn't much money to any team in the majors, but Nishioka was probably the worst position player in baseball last year and it's hard to see any improvement.

Shortstop

Worst: Jose Reyes, Marlins
Remaining contract: 6 years, $106 million

I don't think this was an awful signing at all, from a certain point of view. The Marlins wanted to make a splash and Reyes is the type of player that can single-handedly energize an entire lineup ... when he's in it. Yep, there's that qualifier and that's why he's here. Leg injuries -- on a player who relies on speed -- have limited Reyes to 295 games the past three seasons. Can he stay healthy for the next six? That's a tall order. Again, though, I don't think this one is egregious, and it's possible he ends up well worth the money. It's just that there aren't many bad contracts at shortstop and this represents a huge risk.

Honorable Mention
Derek Jeter, Yankees: What he means to the franchise -- in addition to how much money the Yankees can afford to spend -- says this deal isn't hurting anyone at all. But if you look at what he's likely to provide in the next two seasons, there's no way it's worth the $33 million Jeter is owed. Again, though, Jeter has earned the "pension," if you will, by this point in his legendary career.

Third Base

Worst: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Remaining contract: 6 years, $149 million

If A-Rod hit the free agent market right now, what would he get ... half that contract? He's 36, he hasn't played in more than 138 games since 2007 and is coming off a season where he hit .276/.362/.461. I have no doubt if he stays healthy he has another two or even three great seasons left in him, but he's set to make at least $20 million during the season in which he turns 42.

Also, there are marketing bonuses in the contract for several home-run milestones from A-Rod's 660th to 763rd home runs (he currently has 629). It's probably not worth getting into in this space, because if A-Rod actually breaks the home run record, the Yankees will be rolling in the promotional dough from the event(s) and aftermath.

Honorable Mention
Brandon Inge, Tigers: When the Tigers signed Fielder and announced Miguel Cabrera was moving to third base, it made Inge a $5.5-million backup for the 2012 season.

On the other hand ...

Evan Longoria, Rays: Even if the Rays pick up all their club options on Longoria -- which they surely will, barring major injury -- the All-Star third baseman is only owed $40.5 million over the next five seasons. He's only 26 years old and already has two Gold Gloves, 113 career homers, an .874 career OPS and three postseason appearances in just four seasons. He's received MVP votes in all four of his seasons at the majors. He'll make $4.5 million in 2012 while A-Rod will make $29 million. Now that is a club-friendly contract, one that is surely the envy of general managers -- and certainly owners -- across the league.

Next

Thursday: OF/DH

Friday: Pitchers

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:15 am
 

Indians trade for Russ Canzler

By Matt Snyder

Corner infielder/corner outfielder Russ Canzler was designated for assignment last week by the Rays in order to make room on the 40-man roster for new signee Jeff Keppinger. Tuesday, Canzler was traded to the Indians, the club announced.

Canzler, 25, was the MVP of the Triple-A International League last season when he hit .314/.401/.530 with 18 homers and 40 doubles for the Durham Bulls. He played 41 games in right field, 40 at third base, 33 in left field and 17 at first.

Assuming Carlos Santana stays behind the plate, first base might be Canzler's best path to regular playing time in Cleveland, but he'll likely get shots all over the place as a right-handed bat -- the Indians are loaded with lefties. He could spell Lonnie Chisenhall at third, Shin-Soo Choo in right or Michael Brantley in left, all of whom are left-handed.

In exchange for Canzler, the Rays will get cash considerations.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 4:36 pm
 

Mauer reports he's feeling healthy, 'great'



By Matt Snyder


While it wasn't even close to Adam Dunn bad, Twins catcher Joe Mauer had a season to forget in 2011. He suffered setbacks in his recovery from offseason knee surgery and was said to have "bilateral leg weakness" for much of the early part of the season. He only played in 82 games and wasn't the type of offensive presence we've grown accustomed to seeing when he was on the field.

After a nearly complete offseason of working out, Mauer sounds like he believes he's in line for a good 2012 season.

"The knee's been feeling great," Mauer said during a TwinsFest appearance (MLB.com). "The last year and a half, just trying to compensate for that kind of took a toll on my whole body. I don't think it's going to be an issue. I'm feeling good, so I'm excited. This is the best I've felt in a long time. I'm excited about that."

More, from MLB.com:

"This point last year, for me it's been night and day physically for how I feel," Mauer said. "I really was just kind of doing rehab stuff with the knee. I don't think I grabbed a bat until, I don't even know, later. I feel good. I'm excited to get out there on the field and move around. Things are a lot better for me physically than they were last year."

Look, the stories about guys who are in the "best shape" of their lives heading into spring training are seen every year. It's nothing new and I fully expect to see many more as we get into February. But with some players it's legitimate to check in on their status. Mauer obviously had a series of bad circumstances mar his 2011 season. If he's taken steps forward with a better offseason conditioning regimen while also feeling completely healthy, there's every reason to take him seriously as a huge bounce-back candidate.

Mauer, 28, hit just .287/.360/.368 last season with three homers and 15 doubles in 82 games. He only started 47 games behind the plate. The 2009 AL MVP brought a career line of .327/.407/.481 into the season. Considering he is set to make $23 million per season through 2018, how he plays this season is going to be one of the most important storylines in all of baseball, let alone for the Twins.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 28, 2012 3:08 pm
 

'Leaner' Dunn looks to get past 'stupid season'

By Matt Snyder

Earlier this week, maligned White Sox (former?) slugger Adam Dunn told the Chicago Sun-Times that everything he'd done previously in his career was "discredited by one stupid year." And what a stupid year it is. Gloriously stupid. 

Dunn hit just .159 with a .292 OPS and 11 home runs. He struck out 177 times in 415 at-bats, an amazingly futile frequency of one strikeout per every 2.3 at-bats. Dunn's always had contact issues, but never this drastic, and he was always productive. We're talking about a player whose average season from 2004-2010 was .253/.381/.533 with 40 home runs, 101 RBI and 94 runs in 158 games. Yes, for seven seasons, Dunn averaged 40 bombs a year while getting on base more than 38 percent of the time. And all of a sudden, from out of nowhere at the age of 31, Dunn just fell apart.

And the White Sox owe him $44 million over the next three seasons.

Fortunately for the White Sox and their fans, there should only be one way to go. Dunn can't possibly be any worse than he was last year, right? Dunn, for his part, appears to be doing a lot this offseason to get things back on track.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Dunn appeared "much leaner around his mid-section" at SoxFest this weekend. He's reportedly worked hard this offseason on strengthening his core.

“I feel good," Dunn said (Tribune). "I don’t know, I don’t weigh myself every morning. But I feel good and still got a month to go (before spring training).”

"Hopefully I’m going in this year feeling as good as I’ve felt in a long time and just ready to get started and quit talking about it every (time). It doesn’t matter where you go, everyone is talking about it. I realize that comes with that, but I really can’t wait for opening day.”

The "it" that everyone is talking about it presumably the aforementioned "stupid season." He's obviously trying to put it behind him.

The offseason was probably the only way Dunn was going to get fixed. A funk like he had last season begins to mentally destroy a player in the batter's box. He just needed a break and obviously has worked harder this offseason than last. Time will tell if it makes a difference as Dunn heads into the 2012 season as one of the most stigmatized players in baseball, but the report that he's much leaner shows he's serious.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Report: Brad Penny has offer from Japanese team

Brad PennyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Right-hander Brad Penny has an offer from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

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Penny, 33, was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers last season. Penny made just one appearance in the postseason for the Tigers, starting Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rangers and was pounded for five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings, giving up homers to Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in a 15-5 loss to Texas.

In 12 seasons with the Marlins, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals and Tigers, he's 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA.

The two-time All-Star has also heard from two big league teams, according to the report.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:52 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 4:15 pm
 

Leyland says Fielder hitting 4th, Cabrera 3rd

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Sure it's not even February, but like the rest of us, Jim Leyland is having fun trying to figure out the Tigers' lineup with Prince Fielder.

At Thursday's press conference introducing Fielder, Leyland announced his early lineup, with Fielder batting cleanup behind Miguel Cabrera:

Prince to Tigers
Austin Jackson CF
Brennan Boesch RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young LF
Alex Avila C
Jhonny Peralta SS
Andy Dirks / Clete Thomas / Don Kelly DH
Ryan Raburn 2B

"Pretty hard to mess that one up," Leyland said.

Leyland also said he didn't expect to use a late-game defensive replacement for Cabrera at third base. He also said the team could still use Brandon Inge to play some at third base and DH, as well. However, the way the roster is looking, it's possible he could be released.

The team could also use Young as a DH with one of the trio of Dirks, Thomas and Kelly playing left field, as well.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com