Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: October 29, 2011 9:10 pm

Yankees pick up options on Cano, Swisher


By Evan Brunell

The Yankees have exercised their team options on Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, the team said in a news release.

Cano's option was a no-brainer. One of the best second basemen in the game, Cano hit .302/.349/.533 in 2011 with 28 home runs. In 2010, he finished third in the MVP voting. He has a team-friendly contract however, and gave the Yankees consecutive club options in 2012 and 2013. Cano will earn $14 million in 2012, with 2013's option valued at $15 million. Agent Scott Boras recently appealed to GM Brian Cashman to renegotiate his deal. Cano recently switched agents to Boras, so Boras will not earn a commission on these club options; he gets a commission for whatever deal he signs, so while there is certainly motivation on his end, Cano, if he was a free agent, would be in line for a lot of money. Instead, the 29-year-old he will hit the free agent market at age 31, and that's a significant difference in contracts.

As for Swisher, word surfaced that the club was considering not picking up his $10.5 million option and pursuing Carlos Beltran in free agency, but it never made sense for New York not to pick up the option. The 30-year-old had a strong year, hitting .250/.374/.449 and would have been worth the money to any team, not just the Yankees. Even if Cashman wants to pursue Beltran, picking up Swisher's option and trading him is the more obvious move rather than straight releasing him.

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

Posted on: October 29, 2011 8:01 pm

Owner Moreno: Angels payroll to decrease

MorenoBy Evan Brunell

Last season, Arte Moreno was willing to pay top dollar to get the best free agent. He ended up saving a dime by opting to trade for Vernon Wells... except that transaction didn't work out well.

This season, Moreno isn't as willing to flash his wallet, the Orange County Register reports. Moreno admitted that payroll got a bit unwieldy last season as payroll soared to a franchise-high $142 million thanks to Wells and two free-agent signings in Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi. And this year?

“I would say that $130 [million], $140 [million] range we’re pretty comfortable in,” the owner said.

The Angels have $99 million allocated to just nine players next season, so it will be difficult for the club to round out the squad with capable players. Losing Joel Pineiro, Fernando Rodney and Russell Branyan will help, but neither were albatrosses either. They will also shed having to pay Gary Matthews Jr. and Scott Kazmir, which works in their favor even more, but arbitration raises are due to quite a few people, and significant raises could be on the way for Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar in particular. After arbitration, the Angels could be around $120 million, which will leave them bargain-bin shopping for bullpen and rotation help.

This news likely leaves L.A. out in the cold for significant free agents, but things can change quickly.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:56 pm

Dempster picks up player option, stays with Cubs

DempsterBy Evan Brunell

Ryan Dempster has officially exercised his player option to stay with the Cubs, CSN Chicago reports.

New GM Theo Epstein will have to allocate $14 million to Dempster, which is way above market value and better than he could have done in the market. The 34-year-old finished 2011 with a 4.80 ERA in 34 starts, way over his 3.85 ERA from a season ago, but the righty did finish with at least 200 innings pitched for the fourth straight season.

Dempster figures to pair with Matt Garza at the top of the rotation in Chicago next year, but who fills out the rotation behind the two is anyone's guess.

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

Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:42 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 1:43 pm

Freed from Egypt jail, fan told Mets won Series

GrapelBy Evan Brunell

Can being a Mets fan get any worse?

Imagine a Mets fan being released from an Egyptian jail after spending five months jailed, and being told the Mets won the World Series. Only to find out it's not true.

Ilan Grapel, from Queens, New York, was arrested on charges of spying on June 12. On that day, the Mets were 32-33, the club holding onto hope they could make it to October. That went nowhere, but Grapel wouldn't learn of his team's fate until being freed.

“There’s so many people to thank,” Grapel said at a news conference in Tel Aviv according to the New York Post, “and after being cut off for the past five months ...”

“We told him the Mets won the World Series," House representative Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from Queens, interrupted. Grapel smiled broadly, then figured out he had been pranked.

The 27-year-old had been in Egypt working in legal aid in the wake of the country's uprising against president Hosni Mubarak. The 27-year-old was freed from jail in a prisoner swap with Israel in exchange for 25 Egyptians. Ackerman helped in the process, and Grapel will fly back to New York on Saturday to be reunited with his father.

“My heart was broken for 4 1/2 months,” his mother said about Grapel's return. “There are not enough words in any language to say how thankful my husband and I are."

Read more about the actual champions in the St. Louis Cardinals and the World Series here.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Photo from the Post.
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 5:04 pm

Game 7 dominates in ratings, plus more stats


By Evan Brunell

While Game 7's St. Louis victory over Texas to win the World Series wasn't nearly as exciting as Game 6, baseball capitalized on the amazing Game 6 to soar even higher in ratings. Game 7 improved from Game 6's 21.1 million to over 25 million for Game 7, making it the most watched baseball game since 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86-season drought. Excluding the 2004 World Series, you have to go all the way back to Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for similar ratings -- the last Series before 2011 to go the maximum number of games.

In total, Fox received a 14.7 household rating, which brings the average of all Series games to 10.0, 19 percent higher than 2010's Series played by Texas and San Francisco... and S.F. has twice the TV households as compared to St. Louis In the coveted ages 18-49 demographic, Fox scored big with a 6.8, besting the other four networks combined and gave the network the best Friday its ever had. It's also the highest-rated Friday since the 2010 Winter Olympics. While ratings were strong from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., it was from 10 to 11 p.m. that dominated the most, with 24.77 million viewers. Those are pretty good numbers given it was a Friday night and the Cardinals/Rangers series was not a TV network's dream matchup.

While we're dealing with numbers, let's take a look at some more, dealing with the World Seres...

There were plenty of parallels to the 2002 World Series, the last Series to go seven games before 2011. In that series, the Angels took down the Giants despite the potent bats of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent carrying the load for San Francisco. In fact, until Albert Pujols and Allen Craig matched the feat, Bonds and Kent were the last set of teammates to have three or more homers in a single World Series. Pujols and Craig are now the sixth to do so.

There's more 2002 World Series-related stuff, don't worry. For one, David Freese broke the postseason record for RBI, driving in 21 across three series. Prior to Game 7, Freese was tied with Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997), David Ortiz (2004) and Scott Speizio of the Angels, from 2002.

One more 2002-related tidbit... Matt Harrison lasted four or less innings for the second straight time in a World Series during Game 7. That was the first time since Livan Hernandez repeated the same feat for San Francisco in 2002. Here's a better trivia answer for Hernandez. Before Freese won the NLCS and World Series MVP, the last person to win a LCS and World Series MVP was Livan Hernandez, who did it for the 1997 Marlins. The last position player? None other than Darrell Porter, who did it for the Cards in 1982.

Here are some other assorted facts about the postseason...
  • St. Louis won its 11th World Series and twice in the 21st century. It's their third NL pennant of the 21st century, and also Tony La Russa's third title (one other with the Athletics). He is just one of nine managers to accomplish the feat.
  • The home team has now won nine straight Game 7s and St. Louis has participated in four of them (1982, '85, '87 are the other years). They have eight Game 7 wins, tops among any team.
  • The Cardinals grounded into 15 double plays in the postseason. That's the fourth-most ever in a postseason, tied with the aforementioned '97 Marlins. Texas also tied a record for most walks allowed in a World Series with 40, matching those same Marlins.
  • The Rangers blew three saves during Game 6. That's tied for the most they've ever had in one game since moving to Texas.
  • There were 38 postseason games played, tying the all-time high set in 2003. There is only a possible 43 games that can be played. A record 13 were decided by one run.
  • Chris Carpenter threw a total of 273 1/3 innings over the whole year, regular season and postseason combined. He is the second pitcher in the last 20 years to make three starts in a Fall Classic, matching Curt Schilling's Diamondbacks in 2001.
  • Texas was the first team to score in the top of the first inning in a Game 7 since the Athletics in 1972.
  • The Cardinals won the last game of 2011. They are slated to play the first game of 2012 stateside, as there is a series in Japan between the A's and Mariners. The team will to face the Miami (nee Florida) Marlins in their new park on April 4.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:58 am

Rangers ace Wilson looks ahead to free agency


By Evan Brunell

Now that the Rangers coming up short in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row, the team may be poised to lose its left-handed ace... again.

A year after failing to entice Cliff Lee back to Texas, the Rangers have new ace C.J. Wilson set to hit the market. Wilson, despite posting a 2.94 ERA in 24 starts, isn't considered by many to be an elite, ace pitcher. His performance in the postseason didn't do much to help his prospects, finishing with a 5.79 ERA in 28 innings across five starts and one relief appearance. That could hold back his market, although Wilson hopes not.

"I feel like I pitched pretty well in the World Series and I hope that rinses out the bad taste people had in their mouth from the bad inning I had in Detroit and the bad game I had against Tampa," Wilson told ESPN Dallas, noting how he finished the World Series with a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. However, Wilson walked 11 and struck out just nine, so his World Series outings were not exactly impressive. "I feel like I made some good adjustments and got some help from some people to make those adjustments," he added. "The only thing I’m concerned with, personally, is, ‘what can I do to be a better baseball player next year?’"

But before he can play next year, he has to find a team. And Wilson has absolutely zero idea of the process.

"It’s foreign to me. I don’t know how it’s going to work," Wilson said. "I don’t know if someone is going to be like, ‘we’re going to get you your own blimp; no matter how bad traffic is we will blimp your butt to the field.’"

I think it's safe to say that no team will be offering to "blimp [his] butt" to the field, but he should be in line for a lucrative payday, even if he falls short of the $100 million mark that some have projected. If Wilson breaks that barrier, it won't be Texas doing so. The club isn't awash in finances and doesn't believe Wilson can be a front-line ace, which $100 million would demand he be. Wilson wouldn't rule out a return to Texas, crediting the organization for his success.

"The baseball angle here is very strong. Obviously, we’re a good organization. We’ve proven we can win," Wilson said. "We have guys on the team coming back. We have a lot of pieces that I think are complementary to me and vice-versa, so in that regard, that kind of speaks for itself. I like it here in that sense. They’ve treated me with a lot of respect the last two years as a starting pitcher and they’ve given me a chance to improve, given me a chance to solidify my role on the team as well as around the league as a premium starter. I feel like a lot of my success is because of the team that I’ve been playing on."

Wilson didn't seem to intimate he would give Texas a hometown discount, but did make one thing very clear.

"Bottom line is, you play to win as a baseball player," he said. "You want to be putting yourself in a good position or a better position than you were in previously. I have no idea what’s going to happen."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:31 am

Important offseason dates in baseball

By Evan Brunell

Baseball is set to begin free agency on 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, October 30.

Free agency was originally supposed to begin on Saturday, October 29, but baseball pushed it back a day in conjunction with news regarding the latest labor agreement. Below, you can find baseball's most important dates:
  • All options must be exercised or declined by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 31. Whether it is a team, player or mutual option, the decision must be made by Monday.
  • Free agents have four days from filing for free agency in which they can only talk to their current team about a contract. On 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 3, players can talk with and sigh contracts with any team.
  • The last day for a team to offer salary arbitration to Type A or B free agents is midnight ET on Nov. 23. By not offering arbitration, teams would lose the right to draft-pick compensation.
  • Free agents then have two weeks to accept or reject arbitration with a deadline of midnight on Dec. 7.
  • The winter meetings, home to many trades and signings, will commence on Dec. 5 and run the whole week in Dallas, Texas until the 8th.
  • Teams have until 5 p.m. ET to outright a player off the roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on Dec. 8.
  • Players with less than six years of service time must be tendered contracts by Dec. 12.

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

Posted on: October 28, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 12:14 am

R.I.P: 2011 Texas Rangers

RangersBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Texas Rangers
Record: 96-66, AL West champions, AL champions. Lost World Series, 4 games to 3.
Manager: Ron Washington
Best hitter: Mike Napoli -- .320/.414/.631 in 369 AB, 25 2B, 30 HR, 75 RBI
Best pitcher: C.J. Wilson -- 16-7, 233 1/3 IP, 2.94 ERA, 74 BB, 206 K

R.I.P. series
The Rangers kicked off defending their 2011 AL pennant by racing out to a 16-11 start that sent the tone for the entire season. Leading up to the start of the year, the Rangers were a bit overlooked. While only a few were giving the Angels a real shot at contention, much of the offseason talk was about the Athletics who looked like they were cobbling together a decent enough offense to support the strong young pitching, but it was all Texas, all the time, although the team needed to work through kinks from May to June, posting a 27-28 record in these two months, with closer Neftali Feliz baffingly struggling in his followup to 2010, when he saved 40 games as a rookie.

But then July hit, and the Rangers took off with an 18-9 month that saw a 12-game winning streak, plus scoring 20 runs on the 25th against the hapless Twins. Texas punctuated the season with its best month of the season with a hot September, finishing the month with a 19-6 record and running away from Los Angeles with the division. In the playoffs, they dominated the Rays, winning the ALDS in four games, the only series that didn't go the maximum five. They rode several huge performances in the ALCS to victory over Detroit, bouncing the Tigers in six. In the World Series, the Rangers had a 3-2 series lead and took the lead many times in Game 6 but couldn't hold on for the victory as Ron Washington outmanaged himself. Two straight AL pennants and nothing to show for it.

2012 AUDIT

The Rangers will lose ace C.J. Wilson from its staff, but that's the only major free agent the team has. That's great news, but Texas won't have much payroll flexibility with several deals jumping in salary and quite a few arbitration cases. The club needs to find a way to replace Wilson in the rotation while looking to improve other facets of the team. Mitch Moreland seems to be squeezed out at first -- he's hardly deserving of a starting job next season and if the club wants to get Michael Young and Mike Napoli full-time at-bats, Moreland's gotta go. The bullpen, depending on how Texas approaches its rotation, will need fortifying too. Otherwise, the offense as a whole is pretty set.


Colby Lewis (team option: $3.25 million)
Matt Treanor, C
Brandon Webb, SP
C.J. Wilson, SP

  • Shift Neftali Feliz to the rotation. Feliz has the ability to start, and the chance of him evolving into an ace can't be discounted. With a poor free-agent market, the Rangers have to replace Wilson internally or via trade, and Feliz is the path of the least resistance -- and also the one with the most payoff. Alexi Ogando should also be penciled into the rotation, which should also have Colby Lewis and Derek Holland in it, with Scott Feldman and Matt Harrison duking it out for the final spot.
  • With Feliz gone, the Rangers need to find another reliever. It doesn't have to be a closer, as the club could elevate Mike Adams into the role, but they need to find either a strong closer or strong setupman. If money is a problem, the club should elevate Adams and ink one of Jason Frasor, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch or Takashi Saito. Signing a left-handed reliever is also a must, as Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez are set to be free agents. Oliver is a no-brainer to return, and Gonzalez makes a lot of sense as he can dial up the fastball more than Oliver. If Gonzalez departs, Javier Lopez or George Sherrill could make sense.
  • If Yu Darvish is available, go all out to get him. The Rangers will have some money coming off the books soon with Michael Young and with two consecutive World Series, will have additional revenue as well as a need to keep the team producing. Darvish would be a perfect add, especially in light of Wilson's departure.
  • Keep Mitch Moreland, but make him a bench player. The Rangers need to give full-time at-bats to Young and Napoli, and Torrealba deserves to play over Moreland given he can catch and give Napoli breaks at first and DH. Moreland can't hit lefties, but he can fill in against righties when Young shifts to play second, third or short as a backup, freeing up first for Moreland. If the team gets a solid trade offer for the first baseman in exchange for a reliever, the club should pounce.
  • That's it. Really. The Rangers have a pretty settled team. They simply need to find a way to withstand Wilson's loss and stand pat otherwise. This is a team that's been to the World Series two years in a row with many of its principals locked up and/or young. One player the club should try to extend this offseason is Nelson Cruz, set to be a free agent after 2013. Texas should hold off on Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton, both who are slated to become free agents after 2012. With Napoli's scorching 2011 and Hamilton's injury issues, the club would be better off to wait and see on these players.
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