Tag:AL West
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 11:18 am
 

Rich Harden to miss all of 2012

Rich HardenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Free-agent right-hander Rich Harden will miss all of 2012 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right shoulder capsule, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Harden has been troubled by the injury for the last four years, but finally had surgery last week. The operation was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The injury is the same that cost former teammate Dallas Braden the majority of 2011 and has bothered Johan Santana. Harden told Slusser he was confident he could pitch again in 2013.

"There's no reason, if I work hard, I can't get back to where I was before," Harden told the newspaper.

Harden said the injury occurred on April 15, 2007, when he tried to field a comebacker with his bare hand. Since then, Harden has tried to pitch through the injury by altering his mechanics, but other injuries started popping up.

"If you look at those injuries, that's definitely where they came from," Harden said. "Yes, I've been injured a lot, but nobody really knew what I'd been dealing with for five years."

Harden, 30, started 15 games for the A's last season, going 4-4 with a 5.12 ERA. From 2003-2006, Harden was 30-16 with a 3.67 ERA in 77 games and 72 starts (all with Oakland), striking out 404 batters in 439 innings. After pitching in just seven games in 2007 -- including four games after (but only one start) after suffering his injury against the Yankees -- Harden bounced back with a great year in 2008 with the A's and Cubs, going 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 25 starts. In the last three seasons, Harden's gone 18-18 with a 4.79 ERA with the Rangers and A's, but still had 337 strikeouts in 315 2/3 innings.

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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 9:41 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 11:12 am
 

Rangers, Andrus agree on 3-year, $14.4M extension



By Matt Snyder


The Rangers and shortstop Elvis Andrus have agreed on a three-year contract extension that is worth $14.4 million, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. News of the extension was first reported by Fox Sports.

Probably not coincidentally, Andrus was under Rangers control for three more seasons, so he's still set to be a free agent after the 2014 season. This deal just means the two sides avoid arbitration until then. Also, it represents a sizable pay bump for Andrus, as he was only asking for $3.6 million in arbitration. Of course, he could have made more in 2013 and 2014, but a deal like this mitigates the players' risk in losing out on millions in the case he suffers a major injury.

Andrus, 23, hit .279/.347/.361 with 96 runs scored and 37 stolen bases last season. He's also an above average defensive player and teams with Adrian Beltre to form arguably the best left-side of the infield in baseball -- or you could say he teams with Ian Kinsler to form one of the best up-the-middle defensive combinations.

The deal is pending a physical.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:29 pm
 

Oakland's Beane, Crowley to sign extensions

By Matt Snyder

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and president Michael Crowley could be running things for owner Lew Wolff for a long time. The two executives have agreed to sign contract extensions through the 2019 season, the owner said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Oakland's Busy Offseason
“I view them as partners as well as executives,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com). “So if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me. I may not be here to see it, but that will be fine.”

Immediately after the news broke, several Oakland area reporters noted on Twitter that this is a great sign the A's are going to get their new stadium in San Jose. Wolff himself hinted as much.

“Somebody said the reason I am doing it is I want one or the other to be able to wheel me into the new stadium,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com).

Beane has been the GM since the end of the 1997 season while Crowley has been president since the end of the '98 campaign. Beane, 49, is famously portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie "Moneyball," which was released last summer. Under this management tandem, the A's went to the playoffs five times in seven years (2000-03, 2006). On the flip-side, the A's haven't been above .500 since 2006 and finished 74-88 last season.

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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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Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Rangers sign Conor Jackson, Joe Beimel

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers have signed free agents Conor Jackson and Joe Beimel to minor-league contracts, the club announced Monday afternoon. Both players have also received spring training invites.

Jackson, 29, was primarily a first baseman for most of his career, but then last season he played every corner position in addition to serving as a designated hitter. He still played 53 games at first while getting 52 games of action in the outfield (31 in right, 23 in left). Jackson hit .244/.310/.341 with five homers and 43 RBI. He played 102 games for the A's and 12 for the Red Sox.

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Beimel, 34, is a left-handed reliever. He worked 25 1/3 innings for the Pirates last season, putting together a pretty dreadful line -- an ERA of 5.33 and a WHIP of 1.70. He was actually a productive reliever from 2006-10, though, so last year could have been an anomaly.

Both players have a decent chance to make the team.

The Rangers bullpen appears to be full right now, assuming no more moves. However, Koji Uehara is reportedly being shopped (he blocked a trade to the Blue Jays) and Beimel is left handed. Go down the line -- Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Uehara, Yoshinori Tateyama, Mark Hamburger -- and you'll find that the Rangers don't have a lefty in the bullpen, unless they wanna turn to Michael Kirkman. So that's where Beimel could find a job, as a specialist.

Jackson also has a shot to make the club. The starting nine is obvious, just as Craig Gentry, Yorvit Torrealba and Julio Borbon figure to get spots on the bench. That leaves one spot, with Jackson, Brad Hawpe, Alberto Gonzalez and several minor leaguers competing for the final spot. And that's barring injuries, which could open more up chances.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm
 

Spring position battles: American League West



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There's nothing like the Super Bowl to remind you that spring training is just around the corner. And with pitchers and catchers packing up their bags for Florida and Arizona, we here at Eye on Baseball will look at some of the key positional battles on tap for this spring, starting with the American League West.

Los Angeles Angels
Designated hitter: Mark Trumbo vs. Kendrys Morales vs. Bobby Abreu vs. Vernon Wells

At the end of the 2011 season, it seemed first base could be a battle for the Angels heading into 2012. That position was settled pretty easily with $240 million. The two previous candidates, Trumbo and Morales are now with BAbreu looking for playing time at DH. Add the wild card of Mike Trout possibly pushing either Torii Hunter or Wells into the DH competition and the team has a lot of players for one spot. Sure, the Angels are saying Trumbo can play third, but he's still not all the way back from an ankle injury and he hasn't proven he can handle the day-in, day-out rigors of third base (look at what it did to Kevin Youkilis last season). There's also the chance that Morales won't be healthy. There are so many variables to the Angles lineup that the only thing that seems certain at this point is that Albert Pujols will be at first base, batting third.

Oakland Athletics
Closer: Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes vs.  Fautino De Los Santos vs. Joey Devine

One of the many players Billy Beane got rid of this offseason was closer Andrew Bailey, who went to the Red Sox for three players, leaving an opening at closer for 2012. Fuentes recorded 12 saves in Bailey's spot last season, while Balfour picked up two as well. Those two veterans should be seen as the favorites, but De Los Santos and Devine could surprise. De Los Santos struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings last season, while Devine impressed in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Even if the two youngsters don't get the call after spring training, either are just one trade away from getting their shot -- and with the A's current situation, nobody in Oakland should be buying, just renting.

Seattle Mariners
No. 3-5 starters: Blake Beavan vs. Charlie Furbush vs. Hector Noesi vs. Kevin Millwood vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Felix Hernandez, of course, is the Mariners' No. 1 starter and Jason Vargas figures to be the other Mariner to start in the team's two-game series in Japan. After that, it gets interesting. Seattle signed Iwakuma to a $1.5 million contract in the offseason, so he figures to be in the rotation somewhere. Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineada trade and should be somehwere in the mix, as well. That leaves the youngsters Furbush (25) and Beavan (23), to go against the veteran Millwood (37). Furbush and Beavan showed flashes during 2011, but are hardly proven products. After stints in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in Colorado and should benefit from pitching at Safeco Field.

Texas Rangers
5th starter: Matt Harrison vs. Alexi Ogando vs. Scott Feldman

Unless the Rangers do sign Roy Oswalt, it appears the first four spots in the Texas rotation are set with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, leaving three pitchers battling for the final spot. Last season the Rangers moved Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation with some success. They're looking to do the same with Feliz this season and possibly sending Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando was 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA, but seemed to tire down the stretch. Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last season, but still has to battle for his job. And then there's Feldman, who is a long-shot here, but is used to the yo-yoing from the bullpen to the rotation. If the team does sign Oswalt, the three could be stretched out in spring, but return to the bullpen once the season starts.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 5:46 pm
 

Mariners to sign Hong-Chih Kuo

Hong-Chih KuoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners have agreed signed left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to a one-year deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman confirms. The contract is for $500,000, but becomes $1 million if Kuo makes the active roster and could grow to $2.25 million with incentives.

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Kuo, 30, was dominant from 2008-2010 with the Dodogers, putting up a 1.96 ERA over those three seasons in 133 games and a WHIP of 0.953, striking out 201 batters in 170 innings. Last year, though, Kuo struggled and was put on the disabled list twice, once for back strain and another stint with what was described as an anxiety disorder. Kuo appeared in 40 games and had an ERA of 9.00 in 27 innings. While his strikeout rate stayed high, striking out 36 of the 127 batters he faced, but had 23 walks, the most he had since 2006, despite pitching in the fewest innings since his first year in the United States. His WHIP was 1.741 after recording a 0.783 WHIP in 2010.

Kuo has a history of elbow injuries, undergoing multiple injuries on his left elbow throughout his career, including one after the 2011 season.

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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