Posted on: February 17, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: February 17, 2011 2:06 pm
There's a lot left to be said about the Albert Pujols negotiations, but the question I've had is what exactly is the fan reaction going to be to him this season? Could the great Pujols actually be booed at home?
Now, if it were any other city other than St. Louis, I don't think I'd wonder this -- I'd expect this. However, St. Louis is America's great baseball city. Not only does the town pride itself on its baseball knowledge, but also the way it treats the Cardinals as a whole and as individuals. Go to Busch Stadium and you'll observe a baseball crowd that loves baseball. And Albert was their king.
Now, though, could it get nasty that he's had a chance to prove his undying love and devotion and decided instead to possibly shop around?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked fans if Pujols would still be a Cardinal in 2012 , AS of 8:30 a.m., 35 percent said he would be, 32 percent said no, and 33 percent answered "I know [sic] longer care]." To no longer care about Albert Pujols in Cardinal red in St. Louis is akin to being an atheist at Vatican City.
Here are some of the comments from the newspaper's website:
There are also less dignified responses (from a comment section of a website? I know, shocking) calling Pujols out because of his background and also his outspoken Christianity, as well as those making the apple-oranges comments about our current economic state and a baseball player's salary (if you haven't noticed, they're not connected.) In fairness, there were also messages in support of Pujols and the Cardinals and some reasoned debate, but in a crowd of 43,975, that's not always who is heard.
So, when opening day rolls around in St. Louis on March 31 against the Padres and the third Cardinal batter comes to the plate, what will the reaction be? Could a St. Louis icon be booed in St. Louis? We'll see (or hear).
MUST READ: Former Phillies manager Dallas Green talked to reporters yesterday about the loss of his granddaughter, Christina Taylor Green. Here's the report from the Seattle Times ' Larry Stone .
If this didn't get you, you have no heart -- "John called her princess, and I did, too. She was our angel."
NOW ABOUT THOSE OTHER FOUR SPOTS: Wednesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly named Clayton Kershaw his opening-day starter. Vicente Padilla started Los Angels' opener last season. Kershaw will face Tim Lincecum in the opener -- not a bad matchup. (Los Angeles Times )
YEAH, HOW COULD THAT GO WRONG?: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is standing by his decision to work with BALCO found Victor Conte.
"Instead of me being dumb and just keep trying different things, I went to reach out to somebody so I didn't test positive," Byrd told reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times .
Yeah. Good idea.
NO, A REALLY GOOD IDEA: If you have an iPad, check out this awesome-looking iPad app called Pennant . Seriously, while watching the video, I grabbed my iPad and plunked down my $4.99. If you're the type who can get lost in retrosheet.org, this looks great.
TRIBUTE TO TANNER: The Pirates will find ways to honor former manager Chuck Tanner, but they haven't exactly figured it out yet, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . The team will honor him on opening day and the team is likely to wear a patch. The Reds and Tigers will wear a patch honoring former manager Sparky Anderson this season.
UNCLE ORLANDO: Orlando Cabrera, one of the most entertaining interviews in baseball, officially joined the Indians on Wednesday. The long-time shortstop looks to be the everyday second baseman, joining with "nephew" Asdrubal Cabrera in Cleveland. (MLB.com )
THE MORE YOU KNOW: Baseball America 's always-entertaining minor league transactions .
PLEASE NO: One of my favorite people I've ever met in baseball was the late Ernie Harwell. I was lucky enough to interview him once and will always treasure that.
However, I don't think it's an easy way to make a buck -- Mitch Albom, sportswriter-turned-sap producer, is going forward with a play based on Harwell's life . I'll keep my own memories of Harwell, thanks.
SORIANO'S TRAINING: The Onion on Alfonso Soriano:
EVEN IF ALBERT LEAVES: Buck up St. Louis, you'll always have beer .
And if that doesn't help, how about Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman ? I'd lie just to get lassoed for the truth.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:48 pm
We've had some contracts this week with unexpected numbers, but this might be the first one that's surprisingly small.
The Dodgers announced that they have signed Vicente Padilla to a one-year deal, and the base salary is just $2 million. Considering he was the Dodgers' opening-day starter last season and went 6-5 in 16 starts with a 4.07 ERA, while making more than $5 million, that's a curiously low number. The 33-year-old did miss a lot of time with injuries, but you don't see a lot of players with decent numbers take a 60-percent pay cut.
According to MLB.com, however, the deal is loaded with incentives that would pay him up to $8 million more if he makes 33 starts, and up to $6 million more in unknown elief incentives, which would be tied either to appearances or games finished.
Los Angeles already has five starters -- Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw -- so it's unclear what they have in mind for Padilla. If he alternates between starting and relieving, that could create some awkward situations as he's unable to meet his incentive terms in either role. It's a clever deal for the Dodgers. They're protected if Padilla continues to have injury problems, and the incentives are big enough to keep him from taking a guaranteed deal for more than $2 million elsewhere, which he surely could have done.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm
As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.
Things looked promising after 2009, when the Dodgers won their second consecutive National League West title and made it two straight trips to the NLCS.
And yet somehow, by the time camp broke in 2010, it was clear that this was a team that was in for a long season. The ongoing divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt had generated sensational headlines and hamstrung the team financially. Without financial flexibility, general manager Ned Colletti was unable to add the pitching the Dodgers needed.
The result was an 80-82 season filled with frustration and distractions, and one of baseball’s proudest franchises is in trouble if the ownership mess isn’t straightened out soon.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Pitching was an issue throughout the season, as there wasn’t enough in the rotation to back up Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw (though Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise) and the bullpen caused as many fires as it put out. George Sherrill collapsed, and closer Jonathan Broxton pitched himself out of a job.
The offensive picture might have been a lot different if their $20 million slugging outfielder had shown up, figuratively or literally. Instead of vintage Manny Ramirez, they ended up with a post-suspension slap hitter who seemed dedicated to finding ways not to play baseball. He had just 196 at-bats and hit eight homers, not exactly what the Dodgers were hoping for.
Ramirez wasn’t alone as a distraction. Coming off a big season, Matt Kemp saw his batting average drop nearly 50 points, looked lost at times in the outfield after winning a Gold Glove the year before, and was constantly in a beef with someone. He clashed with teammates, coaches and staff.
Russell Martin continued to struggle with his injuries, and Andre Ethier broke his finger in May and never was the same. Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla also spent time on the DL.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ethier took steps forward despite his finger issue, and Kershaw and Billingsley stepped up. Hong-Chih Kuo was a revelation in relief, and he and rookie Kenley Jansen give the Dodgers some good options at the end of the pen in the future.
Beyond that, good news was pretty tough to find.
HELP ON THE WAY
The minor-league ranks were thinned when Colletti, badly misreading his club’s potential, decided the Dodgers were still in contention and shipped out a ton of players in trades for Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel – none of whom was signed past 2010.
Colletti’s shopping spree didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The closest they have to actual help from the minors is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who upped his stock in a big way this season.
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011
It will depend almost entirely on what happens with the McCourt mess. The team could be tied up in court and financially hamstrung. Commissioner Bud Selig or the courts could force the McCourts to sell, giving the team a new lease on the future.
SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011
The Dodgers have got some decisions to make.
One is on Matt Kemp. They need to get everybody into a room and work this thing out once and for all, or cut their losses and just admit they can’t get along. He has trade value.
Another is Martin. He’s just not the same player he was a couple of years ago, and now he’s coming off hip surgery and he could make as much as $7 million in arbitration. With the promising A.J. Ellis on board, they might be better off trading Martin before he puts up another .248/.347/.332 and loses all his value.
Word is that Lilly is open to returning, and that would be money well-spent -- they don’t want to enter next season short in the rotation again.
The McCourts’ drama shows no sign of abating, and even if they put the team on the market tomorrow, it’s unlikely a sale could be completed in time to solidify the Dodgers’ situation in time to help 2011. An unproven, rookie manager, plenty of drama – this doesn’t look like the recipe for immediate success. Tough to see the Dodgers finishing better than third in the division.
Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.
-- David Andriesen
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .