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Tag:Nationals
Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Hisashi Iwakuma drawing interest from 5 teams

Hisashi IwakumaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

While we all await official word on who won the Yu Darvish bidding, another Japanese pitcher is getting closer to picking his new team in Major League Baseball. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to make a decision sometime around the new year, Iwakuma's agent, Paul Cobbe told Daily Sports in Japan (via YakyuBaka.com).

The Athletics, Twins, Pirates and Nationals -- and another, unnamed west-coast team, are mentioned as teams with interested in Iwakuma.

Last year the A's won the bidding when the Rakuten Golden Eagles posted Iwakuma. However, the two sides couldn't come to an agreement after the thirty-day negotiating period. The A's reportedly won the bidding with a $19.1 million bid, but couldn't come to an agreement. At the time, it was believed Iwakuma was looking for something around $12 million per year, while the A's were offering no more than $5 million. After returning to Japan for 2011, Iwakuma became an international free agent and will be able to chose his team. He has also hired a new agent.

Iwakuma went 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA in 119 innings in 2011 for the fifth-place (of six teams) Golden Eagles, but had some shoulder problems. He struck out 90 batters and walked 19 in his 17 starts. He is 107-69 with a 3.25 ERA in his career. He won Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young Award and the Pacific League MVP in 2008, when he went 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA.

In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Iwakuma started the championship game over Darvish, who closed out the game. Iwakuma finished the tournament with a 1.35 ERA -- the lowest of any pitcher who threw more than 15 innings in the tournament -- and was named to the All-Tournament team.

While not the potential ace that Darvish is, Iwakuma could be a good option for a team in search of help in the middle or back of the rotation.

Iwakuma will turn 31 in April.

Below is a video that focuses on his ground ball rate.



Follow all of the Free Agent signings with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Nats farmhand comes through with Santa proposal

By Matt Snyder

Ben Graham is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher for Class A Hagerstown in the Nationals system. He had a 3.30 ERA out of the bullpen, so it was a nice season, but he definitely has reason to be happy right now.

During a halftime performance by the Tennessee Titans cheerleaders this past Sunday, Graham put on a Santa Claus outfit and sidled up to his girlfriend, Titans cheerleader Janae Kram.

"I was trying to keep my cool and do the performance," she said (WKRN.com). "They were telling me [before the performance] that Santa was going to do something and it could be a little embarrassing, so I was thinking the old man is going to dance with me. When I looked over and saw Ben it was really exciting."

Here's a video of the proposal to remember.



Hat-tip: D.C. Sports Bog

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:56 am
 

Homegrown Team: Nationals/Expos



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

We continue the series today with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Yeah, remember them -- the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike ended the season without a World Series? If you don't, you'll need to be reminded of a certain Bartolo Colon trade, which ended up being awful for the Expos, who got 17 starts from Colon after coughing up three future All-Stars for him. What we see is a team that looks pretty good, but has loads of young talent either already developing in the bigs or soon to be arriving.

Lineup

1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 1B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Brian Schneider, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Javier Vazquez
5. John Lannan

Bullpen

Closer - Drew Storen
Set up - Bill Bray, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester, Miguel Batista
Long - Armando Galarraga, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Ross Detwiler

Notable Bench Players

Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Wilson Valdez, Anthony Rendon, Jamey Carroll, Orlando Cabrera, Geoff Blum and Roger Bernadina.

What's Good?

The starting rotation is really good, especially if you start to think about the future. Much like the real Nats, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler all have the potential to break through and really make this a strong top-to-bottom rotation. Here, you have a perennial Cy Young candidate sitting at the top, too. The batting order definitely has the potential to be good, but there are a lot of question marks, so we can't really be overly excited about it. But, much like with the rotation, there is some serious potential on the way in Harper and Rendon. Finally, the bench is really good. This team has depth.

And in case you're curious, the three All-Stars the Expos gave up for Colon were Sizemore, Phillips and Lee. None of the three had made their major-league debut at the time of the trade.

What's Not?

If we were really going to stick Vlad in right field, we'd have to pray no one hit the ball out there. Should I have gotten more creative and put Vlad at first, moving Espinosa out to right? Maybe. We could move Vlad to 1B and throw Harper into the fire, play Bernadina in the outfield and move Vlad to first or just bench Guerrero. I'm open to any idea, but the idea I used was to maximize the offense. Hey, it worked when the Cardinals put Lance Berkman in right this past real season, right? Also, Schneider is a pretty bad catching option at this point, but there were zero other options on current 40-man rosters or in free agency in the MLB (which is what we used to build these rosters). Finally, the bullpen is very thin in front of Storen in the late innings.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Nats are just on the cusp of breaking through, though it'll be tough in the stacked NL East. These Nats would be a bit better with the legitimate ace Lee and a great bench. Maybe mid-80s in wins, but with tons of help on the way. Much like with the real Nats, it's kind of a "watch out next year" type deal -- with the likes of Harper, Rendon, Peacock and Milone waiting in the wings while Strasburg, Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa et al continue to get better.

Next: Boston Red Sox

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Breslow learns of trade on Twitter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

On TV and in the movies, when a player gets traded, he's called into the manager's office and given the news. That's usually how it's done during the season still, but during the offseason you'd expect a team's general manager to call up a player and break the news to him. 

And once upon a time, that was probably how it happened. In 2011, though, news moves faster than that -- or at least faster than Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane.

Yesterday the A's sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona for Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill. How did Cahill find out? Well, let's let him explain:

 

Another player traded on Friday, former Nationals reliever Collin Balester, got the news from his wife. He was shopping for a Christmas tree and had left his cell phone at home, but his wife -- who was due with their first child on Friday -- started getting calls and texts about the trade to Detroit, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times.

As someone whose wife was due Thursday (and still hasn't delivered), I can tell you it's a huge mistake to leave your cell phone at home at this point, but for reasons other than baseball. The good news, though, is that Balester's wife, Ashley, is from Perrysburg, Ohio, not far from Detroit, so they'll be headed to her home, which will be convenient with a new kid in the house. 

H/T: Yahoo's Big League Stew

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 9, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Tigers, Nationals swap right-handed relievers

Collin BalesterBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Tigers and Nationals exchanged right-handers, with Collin Balester headed to Detroit and Ryan Perry going to Washington.

Balester, 25, was 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 23 appearances with the Nationals, striking out 34 batters in 35 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 28 appearances with Triple-A Syracuse, striking out 46 batters in 39 1/3 innings.

Ryan PerryPerry also split 2011 between the big leagues and Triple-A. In Detroit, Perry appeared in 36 games with a 5.35 ERA. He struck out 24 in 37 innings. At Toledo, he recorded seven saves in 20 appearances, going 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA. He struck out 30 batters in 32 2/3 innings with the Mud Hens.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:46 pm
 

12 players taken in Rule 5 Draft

By C. Trent Rosecrans
MLB Winter Meetings

You may have missed it -- and for good reasons -- but 12 players were taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, in what usually signals the end of the winter meetings. It was the fewest number of players taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft since 2005

The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to take eligible players left unprotected on other teams' 40-man roster for $50,000. A player has to stay on a team's active Major League roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. Teams can also work out a trade with their old team to keep the player and send him to the minors. There have been some huge names selected in the Rule 5 Draft, including Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Dan Uggla, but more often than not, players don't even make it out of spring training. Chances are one or two of the 12 selected on Thursday will make it on an opening day roster, but it's unlikely any of them will stick, based on previous numbers.

But hey, it happened today and some teams got some guys -- while the Angels added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. So, who are the 12? Here we go, listed by their new team and their old team in parentheses:

Astros: RHP Rhiner Cruz (Mets) -- A reliever, Cruz when 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.89 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Twins: RHP Terry Doyle (White Sox) -- Doyle went 8-10 at High-A and Double-A with a 3.07 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 122 and walking 33 in 173 innings.

Mariners: LHP Lucas Luetge (Brewers) -- In his second year in Double-A, he struck out exactly a batter an inning and finsihed with a 3.13 ERA.

Orioles: 2B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) -- A former first-rounder, the left-handed hitter hit .305/.384/.523 with 14 homers at Double-A, but then struggled at Triple-A, hitting .237/.277/.399 with five home runs.

Yankees: LHP Cesar Cabral (Red Sox) -- Actually picked by the Royals, but traded to the Yankees for cash, Cabral struck out 70 batters in 55 innings, walking 21. He was 3-4 overall in 36 games in relief with a 2.95 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Cubs: RHP Lendy Castillo (Phillies) -- A former infielder, Castillo started two of his 21 games at Low-A Lakewood in 2011, going 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 46 batters in as many innings.

Pirates: SS Gustavo Nunez (Tigers) -- The switch-hitter hit a combined .276/.333/.386 at High-A and Double-A, but struggled at the higher level.

Braves: LHP Robert Fish (Angels) -- Fish throws 95 mph and struck out 44 batters in 33 1/3 innings in Rookie ball and Double-A. Most of his time was spent at Double-A where he was 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA and two saves.

Cardinals: OF Erik Komatsu (Nationals) -- The Nationals acquired the speedy outfielder in the middle of 2011. He hit a combined .277/.367/.382 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases between two different Double-A teams. 

Red Sox: SS Marwin Gonzalez (Cubs) -- The switch-hitter hit .288/.343/.400 with 30 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A. 

Diamondbacks: RHP Brett Lorin (Pirates) -- The 24-year-old stands 6-foot-7 and went 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA at High-A Bradenton, striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings.

Yankees: RHP Brad Meyers (Nationals) --  The starter pitched at three different levels in 2011, the majority coming at Triple-A, where he was 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA and struck out 74 in 95 2/3 innings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com