Tag:NL West
Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:44 pm
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Sorting through potential Dodgers bidders



By Matt Snyder


With the wildly unpopular Frank McCourt headed out the door, the Los Angeles Dodgers are for sale. Bids are actually due Monday and McCourt has agreed to make a decision by April 1.

Via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, here is a list of the prospective bidders:

Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten: Kasten has been president of the Braves and is the Nationals' current president. And we all know what Magic means to L.A.

Joe Torre/Rick Caruso: The former Dodgers manager and current vice president of the MLB heads up the group.

Steven Cohen/Arn Tellem: Cohen, a hedge fund manager, is one of the richest men in America while Tellem is a high-profile agent.

Mark Cuban: The Dallas Mavericks owner finally got his championship last NBA season, so maybe it's time to get an MLB team? Note that he's tried in the past -- most famously with the Cubs -- to buy a team. It's just that past reports have indicated Bud Selig and several other owners don't want Cuban to join their club.

Tom Barrack: Shaikin reports Barrack has owned a japanese baseball team and a french soccer team in the past.

Ron Burkle: While he can't match Cohen, Burkle is also a member of the Forbes 400, sporting an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion. He's a part owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Stanley Gold/Disney family: Gold is the president and CEO of Disney's private investment company. The Disney name doesn't really need any further explanation.

Peter O'Malley: The former Dodgers owner apparently wants back in.

Tony Ressler: He's an investor and minority owner of the Brewers.

Dennis Gilbert: The former agent lost out on the bidding for the Rangers.

Alan Casden: He's a self-made real estate developer in Beverly Hills, so that seems like a good fit. Shaikin reports, however, that "MLB wasn't comfortable" with Casden last time he placed a bid on the club.

Tom Golisano: He used to own the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL.

Fred Claire: He was the GM of the Dodgers from 1987-1998.

Steve Garvey/Orel Hershiser: Baseball fans are obviously familiar with the Dodgers connection here.

Fox or Time Warner: We know the TV money is big, but Shaikin reports neither group really wants the team -- they just don't want the other side to buy the team. So each might bid. Try untangling that web of logic.

The Field: The bidding process is not public, so it wouldn't be a total shock of the eventual Dodgers owner was a group or person not on this list.

While it's hard to tell how this entire process will shake out, it has to be a relief to Major League Baseball and Dodgers fans that the next owner is simply going to be ABFM (Anyone But Frank McCourt).

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Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 6:42 pm
 

Red Sox trade Marco Scutaro to Rockies

Marco Scutaro

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rockies have acquired Boston's Marco Scutaro, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman confirms. Scutaro will play second base and likely bat second for the Rockies.

The deal was rumored on Friday, but then other reports said it was dead -- only to be resuscitated on Saturday. The Denver Post's Troy Renck, who initially reported the possibility of the deal on Friday, wrote the deal was revived "when the Rockies were able to work through some financial issues" to make room for Scutaro's $6-million salary for 2012. Scutaro is a free agent after the season.

Right-hander Clayton Mortensen is headed to Boston in return for the 36-year-old Scutaro. But more than that, it opens the $6 million for the team to spend on a pitcher, such as Roy Oswalt.

Mike Aviles and Nick Punto could platoon at shortstop for the Red Sox in Scutaro's absence. The Red Sox could also go with rookie Jose Iglesias, who appeared in 10 games for the Red Sox last season. Iglecias has a big-league ready glove, but his bat is a serious question. he hit .261/.308/.316 at Triple-A Pawtucket last season.

The Rockies upgrade their lineup with Scutaro, who hit .299/.358/.423 for the Red Sox last season.Jonathan Herrera had been penciled in to not only play second, but bat second.

The Rockies' trade of Kevin Slowey on Friday helped add some more payroll flexibility. Slowey was slated to make $2.75 million in 2012.

Mortensen, 26, appeared in 16 games for the Rockies last season, making six starts. He was 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA overall and 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA in his starts. He struck out 30 batters in 58 1/3 innings, with a 1.354 WHIP.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Indians trade for RHP Kevin Slowey

Kevin SloweyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, the Indians and Rockies have pulled off a trade for a starting pitcher, as right-hander Kevin Slowey will join Ubaldo Jimenez in the Cleveland rotation, the Rockies announced.

In return, the Indians sent right-hander Zach Putnam to Colorado.

The Rockies traded for Slowey in December, sending minor leaguer Daniel Turpin to the Twins in return for the 28-year old Slowey. Slowey is due $2.75 million in 2012 and is arbitration eligible in 2013.

Slowey was 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in eight starts and seven relief appearances for the Twins last season. In parts of five seasons in Minnesota, the former second-round draft pick was 39-29 with a 4.66 ERA. He won 13 games in 2010. Last year his walk rate improved to just 0.8 walks per nine innings (from 1.7 in 2010), but his strikeout rate also fell, striking out just 5.2 batters per nine innings. He also pitched in High-A and Triple-A last season, making 11 minor-league starts, going 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA. Slowey will compete for the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation.

Putnam made his big-league debut last season, pitching eight games out of the bullpen, going 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA. Putnam had nine saves for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus team. He was 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Clippers, striking out 68 in 69 innings.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:13 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:32 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, would you rather have a King or a Freak?

Today's Would You Rather Have isn't easy, that's for sure. We're talking about two of the best pitchers in the game, two right-handers both in their 20s and two guys who lost 14 games in 2011. You want proof that wins is an overrated statistic when it comes to judging a starting pitcher? Felix Hernandez was a .500 pitcher in 2011 and Tim Lincecum was a sub-.500 pitcher. You think either of those guys is a scrub? Yeah, not so much.

The case for Linecum

Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards under his belt before his 28th birthday (this June, by the way) and has thrown at least 212 innings in each of his first four full seasons in the big leagues and he's led the league in strikeouts in the first three of those seasons.

Last season Lincecum went 13-14, but he still had a 2.74 ERA, a 130 ERA+ and a 3.36 xFIP. He also struck out better than a batter an inning and recorded a 1.207 WHIP, while allowing just .6 homers per nine innings.

The case for Hernandez

Hernandez has just one Cy Young, but he arguably deserved another. Oh, and he's not even 26 yet (his birthday is in April). Hernandez came up as a 19-year-old, so he already has seven seasons under his belt, so while young he's hardly inexperienced.

Would You Rather Have
Since his 22nd birthday, Hernandez has thrown at least 200 innings a year, including his 2010 Cy Young year when he was an out from 250 innings on the season.Last season he was 14-14 with a 3.47 ERA but saw his strikeout rate rise to a career-bet 8.6 per nine innings, while his walk rate increased by just a hair.

As for contract status, neither comes cheap -- nor is either locked up long-term. Hernandez is signed through 2014 for a total of $59.5 million, while Lincecum has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent after 2013. Lincecum made $14 million last season and has asked for $21.5 million in arbitration this winter, while the Giants are offering $17 million.

Our call

There's no wrong answer to this (and no right answer, for that matter), both are amazing talents. I'd expect the poll to be pretty split. Both pitchers are young, durable and dominant. Both pitchers have home parks that are pitcher-friendly and the money is nearly a wash. There have been injury concerns about both, Hernandez because of his workload and Lincecum because of his slight frame, but neither has had serious injuries. In the end, I'll take Hernandez for his youth, experience and one more year of team control (plus cost certainty).

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Lincecum or Hernandez on your favorite team?



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Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:13 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?



By Matt Snyder


For the latest installment in our ongoing offseason series, let's take a look at two similar left-handed starting pitchers. They're both under age 27, both made their respective debuts in 2008, were both drafted in the first round and both have already had a top two finish in Cy Young voting (one won it). One plays in the AL East, the other in the NL West. That's right, it's Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers against David Price of the Rays.

The case for Kershaw

Well, gee, where to begin? How about with a 2011 Cy Young Award -- coming in a season where Kershaw won the pitching triple crown, leading the NL with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Also impressive were Kershaw's 233 1/3 innings pitched, five complete games, two shutouts while sporting an NL-best 0.98 WHIP. On top of all that, Kershaw took home the Gold Glove. He can even hit, as the .225 batting average and 10 runs scored is pretty impressive for a pitcher.

Better yet, Kershaw is only turning 24 this coming March and has already logged over 700 innings in his young career. We're talking a guy who could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate for the next decade-plus.

The case for Price

Upon first glance at the historically basic pitching categories, Price had a down year in 2011. He went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA. This came on the heels of a season where he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in AL Cy Young voting. Advanced metrics like FIP and xFIP, however, say Price simply had worse luck in how things shook out. And it wasn't like he was bad anyway. He struck out 218 batters in 224 1/3 innings and sported an impressive 1.14 WHIP. And at age 26, it's very reasonable to expect Price to have a similar looking W/L and ERA in 2012 to what we saw in 2010.

Would You Rather Have
Still, I can hear the cries already. This is a stupid "comparison" because Kershaw's numbers like W/L and ERA dwarfed Price's in 2011, right? Well, the opposite was true in 2010 and let us also consider the competition. Remember, Kershaw is in the NL West while Price is in the AL East.

Kershaw made nine of his 34 starts against the Giants or Padres -- and the only worse offense in baseball belonged to the Mariners. He made two more starts against the Astros. In those 11 starts against dreadful offenses, Kershaw went nuts, to the tune of a 10-0 record and 1.33 ERA. Meanwhile, Price made 12 starts against the top three offenses -- in terms of runs scored -- in baseball: The Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Of Price's 34 starts, 21 came against teams with a winning record.

It's fair to point out that Kershaw had good success against the Diamondbacks and Tigers while Price was knocked around by the Twins and A's, for example. But the general point is that Price faced much tougher offenses throughout 2011.

Our call

There is absolutely no wrong answer, but I'm going Kershaw. It might be surprising after those last few paragraphs, but I was merely trying to sell just how tough this decision should be. Glancing merely at the Cy Young voting and traditional stats from 2011 says Kershaw is an easy choice, but it's far from easy. In fact, my choice is based merely on the roughly 2 1/2 year difference in age. Otherwise they are basically the same to me, as the competition level evens out their numbers -- not to mention factoring in 2010.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:02 pm
 

Joe Saunders returning to Diamondbacks

Joe Saunders

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Left-hander Joe Saunders is returning to the Diamondbacks, signing a one-year deal worth $6 million, according to CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

The Diamondbacks non-tendered Saunders last month, but the 30-year-old decided to return to the team. The Orioles, Tigers and Marlins had been rumored to have interest in Saunders before he re-signed with Arizona.

Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 in 33 starts last season. He struck out 108 batters in 212 innings, walking 67. He lasted just three innings in his Game 4 start against the Brewers in the NLDS, but Arizona put up a big lead and went on to win the game, although reliever Micah Owings picked up the win.

In seven seasons, Saunders is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in 161 starts with the Diamondbacks and Angels.

The Diamondbacks added right-hander Trevor Cahill in a trade with Oakland that made Saunders appear expendable, but instead he's coming back, adding depth to the team's starting rotation.

Now with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Cahill, Saunders and Josh Collmenter, Arizona has one of the deepest rotations in the National League. If Collmenter suffers from a sophomore slump, the team could even call up right-hander Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 draft.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:46 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:25 pm
 

A's trade Moscoso, Outman for Seth Smith



By Matt Snyder


Billy Beane's Oakland A's continued their extreme offseason makeover Monday with yet another trade. This time Beane shipped pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith -- who has been involved in trade rumors throughout the offseason.

Smith, 29, has served mostly as a fourth outfielder type for the Rockies since 2008, but he got a career high 533 plate appearances last season. He hit .284/.347/.483 with 15 homers, 32 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He hasn't played center field since 2008, so he's best used as a corner outfielder. He'll likely be the starter in left field with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. Of course, prospect Michael Taylor is going to figure in the mix at some point.

More A's, Rockies moves
One item of note: Smith's career splits indicate he was hugely helped by Coors Field. He's hit .296/.366/.559 at home and .257/.332/.418 on the road. And Oakland plays in one of the worst hitters' parks in the majors.

Moscoso, 28, was 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 128 innings last season. Outman, 27, was 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. And, again, we'll note that these two pitchers are going from having a very pitcher-friendly home park to one of the most hitter-friendly yards in the bigs.

It will be interesting to see how the rotation battle shakes out for the Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel are surely in and it's a good bet Alex White and Drew Pomeranz get every chance to win jobs as well. Then they have Moscoso, Outman, Kevin Slowey, Esmil Rogers, Juan Nicasio, Clayton Mortensen and Tyler Chatwood seemingly competing for one spot. 

On the other side, the A's are still pretty stocked with young arms, but not near as many as before all these moves. The rotation appears to be: Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and either Jarrod Parker or Tyson Ross. Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden are still each recovering from arm surgery. McCarthy is a free agent after the 2012 season, too, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him traded at some point before July 31 as well.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 3:17 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Upton or Kemp?



By C. Trent Rosecrans


We love interaction here at Eye On Baseball, comments can make us think and we like reading what you think. Sometimes you bring up a point we hadn't thought about and make us re-think our positions or reinforce our views. Often, you help copy edit and fact check, those contributions are equally appreciated. We love good, intelligent comments. Really, one of the reasons for the Would You Rather Have series was to get more involved with our readers and encourage disussion. So far, it's succeeded and we hope it continues.

That said, the one criticism of yesterday's comparison of Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria made no sense to me -- some commenters said we couldn't compare a third baseman and a shortstop. Really? Just hours after posting that, the Yankees and Mariners played their own game of Would You Rather Have, comparing a catcher/DH and a pitcher -- and nobody told them they couldn't do it.

Sometimes the pairings we come up with will be players of the same position, other days they may have other things in common. Yesterday we had college teammates and today we're looking at two of the best talents in the game, and two of the top four finishers in last year's National League MVP vote -- Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. The pairjust happen to play in the same division, but different outfield positions.

The case for Upton

Sometimes it's hard to believe Upton is just turned 24 at the end of August, it seems like he's been around for a long time now. And really, he has been talked about in baseball circles for quite a while. The younger brother of the Rays' B.J. Upton, the younger Upton has been on the radar since high school because of his own play, but also because his older brother went second overall in the 2002 draft. In 2005, Upton topped his brother by going first overall.

It didn't take long for Upton to show up on the big stage, arriving in the big leagues before his 20th birthday. In the four subsequent seasons, he's improved and blossomed into one of the game's best players, As a 23-year-old in 2011, Upton hit .289/.369/.529 while setting career-highs in hits (171), doubles (39), homers (31), RBI (88) and stolen bases (21), in addition to the best on-base percentage of his career. He's also turned out to be one of the best defensive right fielders in the game, winning the Fielding Bible Award for 2011.

What the numbers don't show is just how much room there is for Upton to improve. Putting up those kinds of results could be a career-year for many fine players, but Upton can be even better, which is scary.

The case for Kemp

Kemp, like Upton, appears to have all the talent in the world. And 2011 was when he put it all together, showing that he can not just be a very good player, but an MVP-level player. As much as anything, his teammates kept him from winning an MVP in 2011, as he put up a 10 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com on the strength of his .324/.399/.586 season. In addition to leading the National League in homers (39), runs (115) total bases (353) and OPS+ (171), he led the majors with 126 RBI. Kemp missed out on the MVP, but did win the Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove (although advanced numbers don't like his defense as much as the voting bloc of managers and coaches do, apparently).

The Dodgers signed Kemp to an eight-year, $160 million extension after the 2011 season -- but if he continues to put up the numbers he did in 2011, the 27-year-old will be well worth the cost. Upton signed an extension before the 2010 season that will keep him in Arizona for the next four years at a total of $45.25 million, with a $2 million bump in 2012 over 2011, a $3 million raise in 2013 and a $4.5 million increase in 2014, before maxing out at $14.5 million in 2015. That's the thing with supreme talent, if you want to keep it, you must pay, and neither of these players will be living paycheck to paycheck anytime soon.

Our call

It's pretty much a coinflip. On one hand, you have the production and cost certainty of Kemp, knowing you'll have him through the 2019 season. On the other hand, there's the dream of just how good Upton can be, but then risk losing him right after his 28th birthday following the 2015 season and seeing him star elsewhere. If I were in a gambling mood, I'd take Upton. But as it is, I'm feeling conservative (or as conservative as you can feel when doling out $160 million) and take Kemp, hoping that 2011 was the start of a trend. Ask me again in 15 minutes and I could change my tune.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Upton or Kemp on your favorite team?



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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