Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ubaldo Jimenez wins 11th

Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez won his 11th game of the season as the Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 3-2 on Sunday.

In the process, Jimenez extended his scoreless innings streak to 33, which is a franchise record. The streak ended on a home run by Connor Jackson in the eighth inning.

The previous franchise record was held by Gabe White, who pitched 29 1/3 scoreless innings in 2000.

I’m just really happy,” Jimenez said (via the Associated Press). “As a starter, you only pitch every five days so it’s so hard, especially when you’re having a season like this. You can’t wait for your next start to come.”

By allowing a two-run homer to Jackson today, Jimenez's ERA jumped to 0.93.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Perfect...but not really

We nearly saw a third perfect game this season. Well, we did. But not really.

Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from throwing the first-ever perfect game in Detroit Tigers history. And he did. Or he didn't.

Galarraga did his part. However, umpire Jim Joyce called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe (when he was clearly out).

Joyce handled it like a man, apologizing to Galarraga saying he "cost that kid a perfect game."

While this error is another reminder of why baseball should have instant replay, Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York recommends that MLB commissioner Bud Selig intervene and reverse the call.

Considering the call happened on the last play (or what should have been the last play) of the game, O'Connor's recommendation makes sense.

It won't impact the outcome from a win-loss standpoint. But it will impact history.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mark Teixeira expects to play tonight

Last night, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who fouled a ball off his foot during a first-inning at-bat, left the game early.

But he expects to return to the lineup, per George A. King III of the New York Post.

"I thought I could play through it, I thought it would loosen up, but it stiffened up," said Teixeira. "I fully expect to be in there [tonight]. The concern is fielding and running, not hitting."

Aside from a five-game stretch (May 18-22) where he had one hit (and seven strikeouts) in 20 at-bats, Teixeira had a solid month of May. For the entire month, Teixeira hit .280 with six home runs and 25 runs batted in over 29 games.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another solid start for Vazquez, X-rays negative

After getting off to a horrible start (9.78 ERA as of May 1st), New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez looks like he's finally turning the corner.

Vazquez threw six innings of one-hit baseball against the Mets last night although he left the game prematurely (70 pitches) after taking a pitch off his right index finger on a bunt attempt.

"It's frustrating, but the good news is that the finger is good and the X-rays were negative," Vazquez said, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to make my next start."

Over the past 13 1/3 innings, Vazquez has allowed only six hits and two earned runs. In addition, he has struck out 14 batters.

"He picked up right where he left off," [Yankees manager] Joe Girardi said. "The last three times out, he's thrown the ball well. It looks like he's getting his stuff back and locating again."

Next up for Vazquez are the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

Jimmy Rollins leaves game due to calf strain

More bad luck for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and his fantasy owners.

After missing five weeks due to a calf strain, it's possible that Rollins could land back on the disabled list (DL).

Rollins, who returned to the leadoff spot in the Phillies' lineup, left Friday's game in the sixth inning after straining his calf on a single.

When asked about the potential of another DL stint, Rollins responded that he has "about as good (of an idea) as yours," per David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.

As Murphy points out, if Rollins doesn't return to the DL, it's safe to say that he'll be kept out of the lineup for the remainder of the weekend.

In 11 games played, Rollins has an on-base percentage of .458 and has scored 11 runs.

Chad Billingsley wins third straight

In 14 starts after last year's All-Star Break, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley struggled by posting a record of 3-7 and an ERA of 5.20.

And in his first three starts of 2010, Billingsley posted an ERA of 7.07 and allowed 20 hits and seven walks in only 14 innings pitched.

Since then, he's had only one bad outing (four earned runs in six innings versus Milwaukee on May 5th) in six appearances including Friday's 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Or, in other words, Billingsley allowed 11 earned runs in 14 innings in his first three starts compared to only 10 earned runs in 37 2/3 innings in his past six starts.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jacoby Ellsbury to return Saturday

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Saturday night against the Phillies, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.

Ellsbury hasn't played since April 11th when he fractured four ribs in a collision with Adrian Beltre.

He gives us a different element,’’ [Red Sox manager Terry] Francona said. “It gives us that game-changing speed. It gives us the same headaches we have when we have to face guys like Carl Crawford. He gives us a certain look when he’s in there that we don’t have when he’s not in there.’’

Although Ellsbury will be out of the lineup tonight, he doesn't expect some lingering pain in his ribs to cause him to miss any games.

“I still feel it right now,’’ Ellsbury said. “It’s going to be one of those things, it’s going to be there for a little while.’’

Ellsbury, who has only played six games this year, led the majors in steals (70) in 2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Still unknown if Ethier will land on DL

According to Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times, it's not yet known whether outfielder Andre Ethier will land on the 15-day disabled list or not.

During batting practice on Saturday, Ethier broke a bone in his right pinkie.

"My guess is we're going to wait a couple of days," [manager Joe] Torre said. "By that time we should have a clearer idea of where we're going, if he's not going to stay active."

In May, he was hitting nearly .500 (24-for-49) as he had nine multi-hit games in 12 games played. He also has five home runs and 19 runs batted in this month.

Either, who is currently the top-ranked player in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, is leading the National League in all three Triple Crown categories: batting average (.392), home runs (11) and runs batted in (38).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wrist surgery in Nick Johnson's future?

Yankees designated hitter Nick Johnson, who received a cortisone shot on May 7th, may need wrist surgery, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

Of course, it he needs surgery, Johnson's return from the disabled list will be further delayed.

"The best case scenario is he's back in four weeks (from the time of the shot), three weeks from now, he goes through rehab games and he's back," Cashman said, per Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News. "The alternate is he needs surgery and he's sidelined for four to six weeks."

Although Cashman said Johnson would "be a $15 million a year player if he didn't have this history of injuries," he can never seem to stay healthy.

In 2002, Johnson played 129 games as a 23-year-old. Since then, he's played 100+ games in only three times in the past six seasons.

Jose Reyes to leadoff tonight vs Marlins

When the Mets face the Marlins in Miami tonight, shortstop Jose Reyes will return to a familiar spot. (And, no, I don't mean the disabled list.)

Reyes, who is hitting only .207 on the season since returning from the DL, will be the leadoff hitter in tonight's lineup, according to Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Meanwhile, Angel Pagan will bat third in the order in front of left fielder Jason Bay tonight.

Only six teams have a lower batting average than the Mets (.240).

Through 55 at bats so far in May, Reyes has only ten hits (.182 batting average), but he has stolen four bases.

In addition to struggling in May (even more so than in April), Reyes is struggling on the road (.136 average and .329 OPS). His home batting average is a solid .290 with an OPS of .763.

Reyes is hitless in his past three road games and has never faced Nate Robertson, who will start for the Marlins tonight.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beckett's next start pushed back to Friday

Instead of pitching on Wednesday against the Blue Jays, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett will take the mound on Friday against the Tigers, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.

Tim Wakefield will pitch tomorrow.

Beckett, who was taking batting practice, suffered some back spasms and will get his back checked out.

We’ll get him checked out in the morning,’’ [manager Terry] Francona said. “He had a stiff back the other day a little bit, and he was kind of starting to swing the bat and he felt it and it grabbed him a little bit. We’ll get him checked out.’’

On the season, Beckett has an ERA of 7.46, a WHIP of 1.66 and opposing batters are hitting .311 against him. He's allowed five (or more) earned runs in four of his seven starts.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Report: Tulowitzki has MRI, DL possible

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki underwent an MRI and could possibly land of the disabled list (DL), according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Tulowitzki, who left yesterday's game in the fifth inning due to a strained quadriceps, said that “it’s nothing like” the quad injury that sidelined him for two months in 2008.

On the season, Tulo is hitting .311 (second among shortstops) and has scored 24 runs (first), but he has only hit one home run.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Teixeira hits three (of his five) HRs today

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

His slow start in April was well-publicized. His history of slow starts has been well-publicized.

Entering today's game versus the Red Sox, however, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was hitting only .181 with two home runs on the season.

After a four-hit, three-home-run performance today, Teixeira may only be hitting .207 on the season, but it looks like, as usual at this time of year, the worst is behind him.

In April, he hit only .136 with only 11 hits, two home runs and nine runs batted in.

Through today's game (in which he became the second Yankee in team history to homer three times versus the Red Sox), Teixeira is hitting .400 for May with 12 hits, three home runs and 11 runs batted in.

The other Yankee to homer three times against the Red Sox in a game is Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig.

Well, it looks like any opportunity to steal Teixeira away from a disgruntled fantasy owner is long gone like the three bombs he hit today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kinsler just said 'no' to a day off

From a fantasy baseball perspective, the knock on drafting Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler in the first two rounds was his history of missing a considerable number of games each season and his relatively low batting average (.253 last season).

Well, after playing five straight days since his disabled-list stint, Kinsler refused a day off on Wednesday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News.

"It's getting better every day, and my legs are starting to feel better," he said. "I feel like I'm ready to play every day."

Since returning from the DL, Kinsler has hit safely in five of his six games and is batting .292. But he has yet to hit a home run, steal a base or drive in a run.

Even though he missed 18 games in 2009, Kinsler was the only player to finish with a 30-30 season. It's not unreasonable that Kinsler approaches 30-30 again this year provided he stays healthy for the remainder of the season. That's a big if, I know.

But having no steals or home runs as of May 6th could mean that a frustrated Kinsler owner could be willing to part ways with him at a discounted price. It may, at least, be worth testing the waters to see what it would take before Kinsler starts to produce.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A's put Brett Anderson on DL, could miss up to six weeks

The next time Brett Anderson takes the mound for the A's, it could be June.

Anderson has landed on the disabled list and he could miss up to six weeks, per ESPN's Buster Olney. In order to help better determine a timetable for his return, he's scheduled for an MRI, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

With the exception of one bad five-earned-run outing, he had only allowed one earned run (over 18 innings pitched) in his other three starts.

In his five final starts last year, Anderson finished the season with a 4-1 record and 2.20 ERA and struck out 31 batters in 28.2 innings.

Per Spencer Fordin of, the A's also optioned reliever Edwar Ramirez to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled infielder Steve Tolleson and catcher Landon Powell.

Rangers place Nelson Cruz on DL

The Texas Rangers have placed slugger Nelson Cruz on the 15-day disabled list, per T.R. Sullivan of

Cruz left Monday's game in the fifth inning due to a tight hamstring, but he missed either part or all of three games last week.

Proving last year wasn't a fluke, Cruz was off to a hot start in 2010: .323 average, seven home runs, 17 runs batted in and five stolen bases in 19 games.

He was (more than) on pace to back up his 30-30 guarantee.

Last season, he slowed down on the basepaths after suffering an ankle injury and he finished with only 20 steals. With the lingering effects of hamstring injuries, I'm curious to see how much he'll run once he returns.

To take the place of Cruz on the roster, the Rangers have called up Craig Gentry from Triple-A. Last September, Gentry was 2-for-17 with the Rangers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ike Davis to be called up, soon?

Through 11 games, Mets pitchers are hitting .238 and nearly 100 points higher than Mets first basemen, who have a combined average of .143, as pointed out by ESPN's Adam Rubin.

In other words, it was time for the Mets, who have the National League's second-worst record at 4-8, to make a move.

The first part of the move involves adding a reliever to help their pen recover from their 20-inning game on Saturday.

To make room for an additional pitcher, the Mets have designated first baseman Mike Jacobs, who was hitting .208, for assignment and recalled pitcher Tobi Stoner from Triple-A Buffalo, per Andy Martino of the NY Daily News.

After their relievers are back at full strength, the Mets will likely call up first base prospect Ike Davis from Buffalo. The 23-year-old was the team's first-round pick in 2008.

“You have witnessed some of the young talents doing well so far here at the major league level,” [Mets manager Jerry] Manuel said, per David Waldstein of the New York Times. “So, he’s exciting.”

Davis, who hit .480 during the spring, is hitting .364 for Buffalo.

He’s definitely seeing the ball well,” Stoner said, per Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger. “He’s got such a pretty swing and he’s got a lot of pop behind it. He’s playing well down there. ... He’s locked in. He’s just a great hitter. He’s a tough out.”

According to Rubin, a successful start by Davis (when called up) could ultimately lead to a demotion to Buffalo for Daniel Murphy, who is rehabilitating for a sprained MCL.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Slow start for Teixeira creates buying opportunity?

Yankees' Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez celebrate during game 4 of the world series in Philadelphia

Ten games into the 2010 season, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has only three hits (and ten walks) in 36 at bats (.083 average).

Despite his struggles, Teixeira is trying to maintain a positive attitude.

"The competitor in you, you never accept failure. You never like not getting hits. But at the same time, I stick with my plan and I know that it's all about the team," Teixeira said, per Mark Hale of the New York Post. "And we're 7-3 right now. The team's doing great."

It's not uncommon for Teixeira to get off to slow starts. There are three things that seem certain in the month of April: taxes, showers and a slow start for Tex.

His April (through Friday's game) career .242 average, 22 home runs and 78 runs batted in are by far his lowest totals for any month. The next lowest splits are .277 (June), 39 HRs (May) and 119 RBI (July), respectively.

That said, Teixeira was hitting only .200 at the end of April 2009 with three home runs and ten runs batted in. He finished the season with a .292 average, 39 home runs and 122 runs batted in and in second place (behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer) in AL MVP voting.

If Teixeira is on your fantasy team, it's way too early to be concerned considering his typical slow starts, enormous skills, the great lineup around him and his home ballpark.

If he's not on your team, however, consider making a buy-low offer to the owner that does and reap the benefits. Hurry up while values are deflated.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A's lock up Brett Anderson through 2015

He's one of baseball's best young pitchers.

And today the A's signed Brett Anderson to an extension that could keep the 22-year-old in Oakland through the 2015 season. The extension is through the 2013 season, but there are club options for both 2014 and 2015.

The first four years are worth $12.5 million while the total deal could reach a maximum of $31 million if Oakland exercises their option in both years.

The 2015 season would have been Anderson's first year of free agency.

"Let's face it, it's not only having him for that length of time, but also, given his talent, it provides us with some cost control," A's general manager Billy Beane said, per "Premium starting pitchers, guys who can pitch in that No. 1 slot, which we think Brett will be doing very shortly, become very expensive very quickly. We think Brett's a pretty unique talent. The more we saw of him and the longer we waited, the more expensive it was going to become. We jumped early."

In his final 17 starts in 2009, Anderson finished with an 8-4 record and 2.96 ERA. So far this year, Anderson has pitched 12 scoreless innings and struck out ten batters.

In the American League, the only young pitcher (under 25 years old) better than Anderson is Seattle's Felix Hernandez. This is a great move for the A's to lock up their future ace at a reasonable cost.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jimmy Rollins lands on 15-day DL

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins got off to a bad start in 2009 hitting .207, .238 and .167 in April, May and June, respectively.

His start in 2010 was different.

Through the first seven games, Rollins was hitting .391 and scored eight runs. He also hit one home run and stole two bases.

That said, Rollins, who suffered a calf strain during warmups on Monday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, retroactive to Tuesday.

It’s unfortunate,” Rollins said before Wednesday night’s game against Washington, per the Associated Press. “From Monday to today, it’s much better. I thought it was torn.”

Juan Castro will replace him at shortstop and Shane Victorino will leadoff while Rollins is out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Night Links

Phillies closer Brad Lidge says not to worry about allowing four runs in his first Single-A rehab appearance of 2/3 of an inning.

Texas outfielder Julio Borbon was benched after starting the season 1-for-21. Returning to the lineup, Borbon went 0-for-4.

Meanwhile teammate Joaquin Arias has four straight multi-hit games filling in for injured second baseman Ian Kinsler.

The Giants won't pitch Matt Cain against the Dodgers over the weekend.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is being more selective at the plate.

I just can’t pay any attention to any of this crap going on around me,” Red Sox DH David Ortiz said, per the Boston Herald. “Just play the game. The game is hard enough for people to be talking trash about you and you paying attention to it. You can’t listen to it.”

A's reliever Tyson Ross got his first-ever save last night.

It might be a while before Orioles 'closer' Mike Gonzalez gets another save opportunity.

The Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first-ever game at Target Field.

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said of today's performance: “Today I just stunk. Didn’t make pitches. I don’t really know what else to say.’’

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz hit his fifth home run of the season.

The Royals had 15 hits against the Tigers today.

Scott Rolen homered twice as the Reds beat the Marlins today.

The Padres scored 17 runs against the Braves today.

Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley have added a slider and changeup, respectively, to their pitching repertoires, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Texas will start Ryan Garko at first base on Thursday.

The Pirates scratched pitcher Ross Ohlendorf for tonight's start against the Giants.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts might need more time after he's eligible to return from the DL.

Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore misssed his second straight game.

FYI: Follow us on Twitter @EDSBaseball.

Aaron Hill put on the DL

The Toronto Blue Jays have placed second baseman Aaron Hill on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star.

The move is retroactive to April 8th, which means Hill will be eligible to return on April 23rd.

It’s not the way I wanted to start off,’’ Hill said. “Like I told them, ‘I know in the back of my mind you guys are making the right decision’ – even though I fought ’em on it. Obviously, I want to be out there.’’

While Hill is out, John McDonald and Mike McCoy are splitting the second baseman duties.

In eight at bats this season, Hill has only one hit.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Night Links

Cleveland's Grady Sizemore was a scratch from Sunday's game with back stiffness. And he might miss Monday's home opener.

Indians prospect Carlos Santana hit his fourth home run for Triple-A Columbus already.

To make room for Gil Meche's return, the Royals have sent Mike Aviles down to Triple-A Omaha.

Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw his first N.L. complete game as the Astros dropped to 0-6, which is their worst start since 1983.

The Mets called up Raul Valdes to fill in for Sean Green, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (DL).

It doesn't look like Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler will return from the DL before the Red Sox series that begins on April 20th.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said about today's performance, “We appeared unprepared. And I have to take responsibility for that.”

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says of the team's defense, "We need to tighten up."

Boston's Mike Lowell is considering retirement when his three-year contract expires at the end of the season.

"I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I'm proud of him," Bonds said Sunday, per the Associated Press. "We've had a great relationship throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I'm proud of what he did. I'm happy for him."

Pittsburgh manager John Russell moved Garrett Jones to the cleanup spot while moving Lastings Milledge to third (from fifth).

In today's fourth inning against the Diamondbacks, the Pirates tied a franchise record by allowing 13 runs.

Part of the 13-run outburst came from pitcher Edwin Jackson's first career home run.

Through two starts, Tigers ace Justin Verlander has an ERA of 9.00.

The earliest return (barring setbacks) for Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly is April 24th, per Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

John Hester will back up D'Backs catcher Chris Snyder, who will replace the injured Miguel Montero.

In his pro debut for Triple-A Louisville, Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman hit triple digits on the radar gun three times.

The Angels lead the majors in home runs allowed so far this season.

Shameless plug(s) of the day: Check out my latest post at The Daily Blitz and my latest post at

Brian Roberts headed to the DL?

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, it looks as though the Orioles will place second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list with an abdominal strain.

The Orioles have recalled second baseman Justin Turner from Nolfolk, their Triple-A affiliate.

When told about Turner, Roberts responded, "Well, I guess I am going on the DL then."

Roberts, who suffered the injury on a stolen base on Friday, has two stolen bases in four games, but he was hitting only .143 (2-for-12).

Meanwhile, Julio Lugo, who will likely fill in while Roberts is out, is 2-for-14 in his four games played including Sunday.

Miguel Montero to have knee surgery

The Arizona Diamondbacks have placed catcher Miguel Montero, who will require knee surgery, on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.

Montero has a torn meniscus and additional tests will be performed to verify whether there is any additional damage to the knee.

"I don't think it's fair to throw out too many timetables until we get the final tests on Monday," [manager A.J.] Hinch said.

In four games, Montero was batting .500 (6-for-12) with three runs batted in. While he is out, Chris Snyder will take his place.

Snyder, who is 1-for-6 this season, hit a career-high 16 home runs with 64 runs batted in during the 2008 season.

Feliz (not Francisco) to close for Texas

I can't say that I didn't see it coming.

In one of our Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcasts in late-February, we discussed relief pitchers (and catchers). Fearing a potential implosion and subsequent replacement by Neftali Feliz, I mentioned during that podcast that I would avoid Rangers closer Frank Francisco on all of my fantasy baseball teams.

That said, it's happened quicker than I thought although manager Ron Washington implied that the transition is temporary.

That just didn’t look like Frankie,” Washington said Sunday, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We haven’t seen that [closer] guy … and there’s no way we can go through this year without Frankie Francisco.”

If Feliz has more success than Francisco, who has blown two of three save opportunities, however, it's easy to imagine this move being more than just temporary for the 2010 season.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cliff Lee to miss all of April

Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee, on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 26th, isn't expected to pitch at all in the month of April.

Lee, who should begin a minor league rehab assignment after a simulated game on the 16th, said Friday's 25-pitch bullpen session was "normal, felt good."

"Safely, I think we're looking at, hopefully, the first week in May,'' said manager Don Wakamatsu, per Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. "Again, anything before that, I don't think he'll be built up and we won't feel comfortable.''

Although the injury is related to abdomen -- and not his arm or shoulder, it makes sense to take a cautious approach.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mike Gonzalez blows another one

Going one out of three is good. If you're a hitter, that is. It's not so good when you're the closer.

For the second time in three appearances, Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez has blown a save opportunity.

To make matters worse, today's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays came during the largest home Opening Day crowd (48,891) at Camden Yards. His first blown save came on Opening Day in Tampa.

That said, Orioles manager Dave Trembley says of Gonzalez that “he’s the closer.”

If you have a glass-half-full perspective, there won't be any more Opening Days in his future until 2010.

Either way, it might be wise to add Jim Johnson to your fantasy roster as a handcuff.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brewers, Gallardo agree to extension

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed Yovani Gallardo, who turned 24 years old in February, to a five-year contract extension, per Adam McCalvy of

This deal, which guarantees Gallardo $30.1 million, will keep their young ace in town through the 2014 season. There is a club option for a sixth year (2015).

Gallardo would have been eligible for arbitration after this season and eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.

"We are thrilled to sign one of our top young players to a long-term deal," said Melvin in a news release. "We view Yovani as a top of the rotation performer who has a chance to become one of the elite pitchers in the game. He is the cornerstone of our starting rotation and the ideal pitcher to build our staff around for future seasons."

Last year, Gallardo became the fourth Brewer pitcher to have struck out 200 batters in one season. He finished the year with a record of 13-12, 3.73 ERA and 204 strike outs in 185 2/3 innings.

After signing Gallardo and outfielder Ryan Braun to long-term extensions, the Brewers will continue to work on signing first baseman Prince Fielder to a long-term deal next, despite placing blame on a team like the Yankees for the economic imbalance in baseball.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mid-May return for Huston Street?

It was confirmed, by Dr. James Andrews, that the shoulder of Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street has inflammation but no structural damage, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Meanwhile, Renck's best guess for Street's return is roughly May 15th as trainer Keith Dugger will have Street work on conditioning before resuming his throwing program.

"We fear if I ramp up the throwing, I'll keep getting inflamed and it'll be a long, circular process, so Dugger has me on a program to build it up," Street said, per

Despite giving up one run in one inning on Monday, Franklin Morales, Street's injury substitute at closer, is one-for-one on save opportunities so far.

Note: you can follow us on Twitter @EDSBaseball.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Night Links

''He said, 'Good luck. Sincerely, Ozzie.' And couple more phrases,'' said [Cubs manager Lou] Piniella [of a note left by Ozzie Guillen]. ''It wasn't twitted, and I'm appreciative of that.''

Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee had a pain-free catch for a second day in a row.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum threw seven scoreless innings in tonight's win over the Astros.

Albert Callaspo might start at third base for the Royals on Wednesday.

In his first at bat of the season, Mets third baseman David Wright homered.

And Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones homered twice.

Meanwhile, Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward crushed a home run in his first-ever at bat in the big leagues.

Blue Jays closer Jason Frasor said of his blown save today: “Unfortunately, I have 48 hours to think about it. I’m six years older than I was when I first started blowing games, so it’s a little easier.”

The Red Sox will give Josh Beckett $68 million over four years.

Meanwhile the Pirates have the lowest payroll ($35.4 million) in baseball in 2010.

Shameless plug(s) of the day: Check out our 2010 fantasy football (quarterback) rankings or weigh in on a McNabb-versus-Kolb discussion on our football forums.

Amazing play by Mark Buehrle

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, who started his eighth season opener, pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians today.

More impressively, one of those 21 outs could "end up being the Sox' defensive play of the year," as pointed out by Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Unbelievable," said Cleveland right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. "I think that was the best play I've ever seen. I thought he had no chance."

Berkman has knee drained ... again

It's Opening Day at Minute Maid Park and pitcher Roy Oswalt has made his franchise-record eighth consecutive Opening Day start.

Houston Astros vs St. Louis Cardinals

Despite beginning the season on the disabled list (DL), teammate Lance Berkman received a "big round of applause as he gingerly walks onto field..." as tweeted by MLB's Brian McTaggert.

Berkman, who missed 26 games in 2009, is eligible to return from the DL Saturday, however, that may be overly optimistic.

According to Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle, Berkman had his knee drained for a fifth time today and he's expected to get a cortisone shot.

Ron Washington's job security?

There are some Texas-sized expectations for the Rangers in 2010, especially from those in the organization.

In fact, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton predicted "96 wins."

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks in his column in the Dallas Morning News this morning, "Is Ron Washington on the hot seat?"

Washington, who is the fourth and final year of his contract, led the Rangers to 87 wins last year and has improved the club in each of his three seasons. (He won 75 and 79 games in his first two seasons, respectively.)

Despite internal debate over whether to fire Washington after he had failed a drug test last year, the Rangers decided to keep him as their skipper. That said, Wilson mentions the "lingering belief" that the Rangers could be looking to fire Washington, at the earliest convenient opportunity (i.e., losing streak, managerial error, etc.)

"That's silly," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Trust me: Nobody here is looking for something like that. We're all trying to work together to help this team win."

Barring a second failed drug test, which seems unlikely, or something else equally embarrassing for the franchise, it's hard to envision Washington being replaced mid-season.

Perhaps if the Rangers take a step back from 87 wins, Washington may not be back in 2011. Otherwise, a fourth straight year of improvement would seem to guarantee his continued stewardship of the club.

(Note: Win #1 is in the books.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Night Links

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson says of the comparison to Curtis Granderson, "I get that all the time. I've been compared to him, and that is a real compliment."

Granderson homered in his first at bat as a Yankee.

With Cody Ross and Dan Uggla, the Marlins had two (of the seven) players under 6'0" to hit 20+ home runs.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail said to "not read too much into" Nolan Reimold fielding ground balls at first base.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Gordon Beckham's move to second base: 'He's got a great chance to be a good one. I think the move to second will make it easier for him. He's more comfortable. He can just worry about his hitting.''

The four-year extension for Toronto's Adam Lind could be worth as much as $38.5 million, per Morgan Campbell of The Toronto Star.

Jason LaRue will be the Cardinals' Opening Day catcher.

Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune names B.J. Upton, David Price, Sean Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano as his players to watch in 2010 in addition to prospects Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson.

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez has returned to the Mets after his brothers' automobile accident in Venezuela.

Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal says the Dodgers are capable of reaching the World Series.

Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez focused on slowing down his delivery.

Padres second baseman David Eckstein said, “This team is definitely headed in the right direction with a lot of good, young talent. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people, maybe ourselves.”

The Red Sox added Scott Schoenweis to their Opening Day roster after placing Daisuke Matsusaka and Junichi Tazawa on the disabled list.

Giants outfielder John Bowker, who led the team this spring with 23 RBIs, won the starting right field job.

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is tired of losing.

Braves phenom Jason Heyward wears number 22 in honor of Andrew Wilmont, his former high-school teammate and the son of his favorite high-school teacher. Wilmont passed away after a car accident.

Marlins closer Leo Nunez said, "Finding a song [for a closer] isn't easy. You are supposed to have something intimidating.''

Eric Chavez is now the Athletics designated hitter.

Shameless plug: Get our Twitter updates @EDSBaseball.

Giants catcher Bengie Molina said of ace Tim Lincecum, "... some of the starts he won, he won because of his name. He wasn't always feeling the best. He wasn't throwing as hard, and his breaking ball wasn't as good. He was beating them because the hitters knew who they were facing. Obviously, I'm not trying to put Timmy down. Everybody knows how nasty he is. Even if he doesn't have his good stuff, he knows how to pitch a good game."

The Rockies left fielder on Opening Day will Seth Smith, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Some (more) shameless plugs for our latest posts at our other blogs: NCAA Championship prediction, Ravens' consensus draft pick and Donovan McNabb dealt to Redskins.

Cliff Lee to start season on the DL

The Seattle Mariners have placed pitcher Cliff Lee on the 15-day disabled list (DL), per Jim Street of

The move is retroactive to March 26th.

Lee said today of throwing on flat ground, "I feel good. I virtually threw as hard today as I can throw and didn't feel anything. It's good."

In addition to Lee, the Mariners begin the season with three players on the DL: Lee, pitcher Erik Bedard and third baseman Jack Hannahan.

Facing a five-game suspension, which he is appealing, Lee could miss almost all of April.

Can the Mets stay healthier in 2010?

That's the stated goal.

According to Baseball Prospectus, as pointed out by Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger, Mets' players spent a combined 1,451 days on the disabled list (DL) in 2009.

And heading into Opening Day tomorrow, the Mets have already placed four of their players on the DL this season.

Hence, the team's 2010 slogan: “Prevention and Recovery.”

“Every time they see the sign, it’s a reminder to everybody, whatever they’re doing, to keep an eye on, ‘Are we at risk here?’ ” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. “Not to say we’re not going to prepare, but it just keeps it in your consciousness. The more people are talking about it and thinking about it, the less chance we’ll have of doing something that puts us at risk.”

That said, Mets' players aren't exactly sure what it means.

Mets third baseman David Wright said “... I’m not exactly sure what’s going on differently than in years past” while teammate Jeff Franceour said, “I have no clue what it means.”


I think what it means is that it could be déjà vu all over again for the Mets.

Matthews Jr. named Mets' Opening Day centerfielder

Earlier in the spring, opinions seemed to differ between Mets manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya as to whether prospect Fernando Martinez could become the Mets' Opening Day centerfielder.

In either case, F-Mart was sent down to Buffalo last week despite his .383 batting average this spring.

Therefore, in the battle to be Carlos Beltran's injury replacement to start the season, Gary Matthews Jr. beat out Angel Pagan, per Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Matthews, who hit .250 with four home runs in 350 at bats for the Angels last season, will bat seventh in the order when the Mets face the Marlins tomorrow.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brendan Ryan to hit second in Cards' lineup

Heading into the regular season, it looks as though Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan will bat second -- not centerfielder Colby Rasmus, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As Goold points out, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa plans on using Friday's lineup as his regular-season lineup.

On Friday, Ryan batted second and Rasmus batted fifth.

Speaking of Ryan batting the No. 2 spot, La Russa said, "He's been there a lot this spring and he's continued to have good at-bats. He's done good things with it."

"I'm looking at the card, and I'm hitting in front of Albert Pujols. That's awesome," Ryan said. "I wouldn't tell him that. (But) I don't want to hit 13th in the lineup. I want to hit in the first inning."

In deep leagues or NL-only leagues, Ryan should plenty provide value as a guy who will hit for a solid average (.290 or so), steal bases (had 14 steals in 390 at bats last season) and score plenty of runs with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday hitting behind him.

According to, Ryan is the 14th shortstop being drafted in NL-only leagues with an ADP of 215.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nelson Cruz now a national pitch man

Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is one of eight players featured in the national ads for 2KSports Major League Baseball 2K10, per Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"It definitely was exciting to be part of the commercial," said Cruz. "I got a chance to meet with those guys like Kendry [Morales], [Justin] Verlander and [Felix] Hernandez. I was really happy to have the chance and the opportunity to be there."

Cruz, who will bat fifth in the Rangers' Opening Day lineup, hit 33 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2009.

How to top his breakout season in 2010?

Cruz guaranteed a 30-30 season and considering his sprained ankle last August nearly halted his stolen base attempts, it at least seems possible provided he can stay healthy.

"I see a very confident Nelson Cruz,” [manager Ron] Washington said. "I see a guy that’s been going about his business like a veteran."

According to, Cruz is the 16th outfielder drafted with an average draft position of 62. Seems like a steal to me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jose Reyes to start season on DL

Last year, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes missed 126 games.

To start the 2010 season, he will miss (at least) four more.

According to Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger, Reyes will start the season on the disabled list (DL). In addition, the Mets could make it retroactive, which would allow Reyes to return as early as April 10th.

“As soon as I feel comfortable at home plate, I’ll be ready to go,” Reyes said (via the Star-Ledger).

If you're a glass-half-full guy, the problem has been his timing at the plate -- not the hamstring or running. Nonetheless, there seems to be more risk than reward with Reyes for my taste.

Lance Berkman to the DL

Well, one player that won't outhit me in the first four games of the 2010 season is Astros first baseman Lance Berkman.

In addition to pitchers Yorman Bazardo and Alberto Arias, the Astros have placed Berkman on the disabled list (DL) retroactive to March 26th, according to's Brian McTaggart.

Berkman, who had his knee scoped on March 13th, said: "Obviously it stinks to have to start the year on the DL, but I'll get off quick and never look back. I hate missing any games at all, but as long as it doesn't turn into an ordeal. Really just being eligible to come off Saturday [April 10] is good news."

Regardless, Berkman, who is a career .299 hitter, is on the decline. He missed 26 games in 2009, batted only .274 and drove in 80 runs (his lowest total since 2000).

In our Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcast on corner infielders, Berkman was a guy that we suggested to avoid.

If you didn't listen (to the podcast and/or advice), the good news is it's only four games (knock on wood) that he'll miss.

Our fantasy baseball podcast is rescheduled

We have three equally-important missions here. Make the world a safer place. Provide you with slightly-above-mediocre fantasy advice (provided it doesn't require too much work on our part). And drink beer.

In an effort to fulfill (an unspecified) one of our three missions, we need to reschedule tonight's Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcast to Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

If this inconveniences our audience (otherwise known as Ed), we sincerely apologize.

In the meantime, here's a shameless plug for our fantasy football podcast, which has the very original name of...Fantasy Football Weekly. Tonight (at 7:30 p.m. ET) we will do round 9 of our 2010 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Night Links

Reds closer Francisco Cordero said, "It's not only about me having a good year. It's about getting the team in the playoffs and maybe the World Series.

Meanwhile, his teammate Aroldis Chapman is likely to start the season in the minors.

And Reds manager Dusty Baker says of his bullpen, "You need a good bullpen. We've got a good bullpen."

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that the difference between the "Big 3's" of Atlanta and Oakland in the past and the Giants today is offense.

Phillies reliever J.C. Romero says of his latest outing, "... today was very good and I am very happy about everything that went on today."

With his roster spot secure in 2010, Phillies starter J.A. Happ said, "I obviously don't want to give up hits or runs, but last year I had to go with what I was most confident in. This year, I'm maybe able to try a few different things. I did that."

San Diego's Chase Headley leads the majors in runs batted in (21) this spring.

Cubs outfield prospect Tyler Colvin, who's hitting .455 this spring, could push the starters.

As expected, Yovani Gallardo is the Brewers' Opening Day starter.

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera hit a pair of 500-foot homers.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says of outfielder Carlos Quentin's new attitude:''I love it, oh, my God, yes. I think Carlos enjoys the game a little bit more. I don't want him to change, I don't. ... I think he's out there more with the players, and I like that, believe me.''

The Mariners have released pitcher Seth McClung.

Reds starter Aaron Harang said about today's loss and being ready as Opening Day starter: "Yeah, I feel great. This is the best I've felt in spring training. The outcome is not what you want and expect. But it doesn't count. This is about getting ready for the long haul of the season. Overall, I feel very comfortable with the new stuff with my mechanics. I feel like the ball is coming out very well. It's a matter of coming in and stretching it out come Monday."

The Marlins acquired pitcher Nate Robertson from Detroit.

Pitcher Jeff Suppan was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to March 26th, by the Brewers.

Shameless plug of the day: here's the link to the latest post on my football site.

Follow me on Twitter @EDSBaseball.

Lindstrom to close games for 'Stros

The Houston Astros have named Matt Lindstrom as their closer to start the season, according to Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle.

With the contract (three years, $15 million) given to Brandon Lyon, who was expected to win the job, it wouldn't surprise me to see Lyon ultimately take over the role.

But for now, Lindstrom could be a source of cheap saves for your fantasy team.

Kinsler likely to start season on DL

When the Rangers open the 2010 season, it's likely that second baseman Ian Kinsler won't be on the field.

According to Jeff Miller of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, it's looking more likely that Kinsler will begin the season on the disabled list (DL) as he recovers from his ankle sprain.

"Whatever we decide is going to be in the best interest of Ian," manager Ron Washington said.

Kinsler was baseball's only 30-30 guy in 2009, but he's no stranger to the DL. He's averaged just shy of 130 games per season in his four-year career.

Since several fantasy owners may shy away from Kinsler due to his (lack of) durability, this (potential) brief stint on the DL could cause owners to overreact and create a buying opportunity.

In either case, buyer beware.

Francisco Liriano to start -- not close

Minnesota Twins starter Francisco Liriano will be just that -- a starter.

To be specific, Liriano will be the team's fifth starter, per Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

With closer Joe Nathan out for the season after having Tommy John surgery, there was some talk about the potential for Liriano to close. Instead, the team will employ a closer-by-committee approach to save opportunities.

Liriano, who has pitched well in winter ball and spring training, threw six shutout innings today and is a guy you should target late in mixed-league drafts.

Sanchez beats out Morrison for Marlins' 1B job

Gaby Sanchez, who hit .409 this spring, beat out Logan Morrison to win the starting first baseman job for the Florida Marlins.

"To be able to do it with a team I grew up watching, it's even better,'' Sanchez said, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Last year, Sanchez pressed too hard last spring, which is something that Morrison was doing this spring.

"[In] Morrison, I see a very good major leaguer, not just an average major leaguer,'' [manager Fredi] Gonzalez said. "This guy's going to hit. Maybe he's going through what Gaby went through last year.''

Morrison, who is 22 years old, ranks 20th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list (via SI).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Night Links

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes took batting practice for the first time on Monday, but his status for Opening Day hasn't yet been determined.

Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, who received an injection in his back, is expected to start on Opening Day.

Marlins ace Josh Johnson is also expected to be ready to make his Opening Day start.

Royals first baseman Billy Butler said, “No personal goals. It’s team goals. Win the American League Central. Make some noise and show our organization is moving in the right (direction). If we do that, my individual goals will all be there because we’ll be where we want to be.”

When asked about his 20-20 potential, Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones said, "I think it's possible."

The Toronto Blue Jays have released outfielder Joey Gathright.

For ceremonial first pitches, Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch in Philadelphia while Roger Staubach will throw out the first pitch in Arlington.

Pirates manager John Russell plans to hit the pitcher 8th in the Pirates' lineup.

As expected, Ryan Perry earned a roster spot in the Tigers' bullpen.

Marlon Byrd said of Milton Bradley: ''I want him to be him. In Texas, he didn't smile. He put up ungodly numbers. He has to be himself. That's the only thing he can do. That's the only way he can play. I want to see him do it, 162 all-out, because he has MVP material.''

Orioles reliever Koji Uehara will start the season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello had a strong outing against the Blue Jays.

Felipe Paulino has a shot at winning the Astros' fifth starter spot in the rotation.

Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore said, "Whatever soreness or pain I've had has been minimal. I recovered from the next day. Going into this last week of spring training, I feel strong like I'll be ready to go for the season."

Reds pitcher Homer Bailey allowed five runs on five hits in five innings against the Dodgers single-A team.

Royals pitcher Gil Meche threw 127 pitches in a simulated game and didn't feel any soreness.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch on his elbow, but X-rays weren't required as it's only a bruise.

Pujols says he feels great

For anyone concerned about the back of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, don't be.

After hitting the ball hard yesterday off Mets' pitcher Mike Pelfrey (then again, who didn't hit Pelfrey hard?), Pujols was pleased with his swing and said "... if the season were to start tomorrow, I'd be ready to go," per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I think if there is a good time to test (the back) it's right here and in the next three or four days," said Pujols. "I feel great. I don't think this is going to be an issue. If this would be an issue it would have flared up ... again. Long innings, long games — it's stuff like that. That's what I look at, and I feel really good."

In the obvious statement of the day, Pujols should be the top overall pick in fantasy drafts regardless of format.

And through nine MLB seasons, Pujols has never hit lower than .314 (2002), less than 32 home runs (2007) or has he driven in less than 103 runs (2007) in any season. And twice (including last year) he stole 16 bases.

Ryan Madson on the 9th: "Just treat it as another inning"

Phillies (temporary) closer Ryan Madson can be a source for a cheap saves early in the season.

Madson will serve as the team's closer while Brad Lidge remains in Clearwater at the start of the season.

Athough he struggled in that role in 2009 by converting only 10 of 16 opportunities, last year's experience should help him this year.

At least, that's Madson's (and Lidge's) view.

"Just treat it as another inning," Madson said. "I got into a little bit of a groove and got my confidence and realized that. So if I can just start that way, get that feeling that I had at the end of the year last year and just treat it like another inning, go out for each hitter and have fun with it, everything will be fine."

"We all know [Madson's] stuff is as good as anybody's among the late-inning guys. And I think for him, the experience of last year will go a long way for him this year," Lidge said. "I thought he did fine for his first year getting in there. He probably learned a lot about how the ninth inning is a little different from the eighth inning. And now that he knows that, and with his stuff, I think he's going to do an excellent job. I mean, he's really capable of being a great closer."

In six spring appearances, Madson has saved one game while posting an ERA of 6.00 and WHIP of 1.50 in six innings pitched.

Ricky Nolasco lowers spring ERA to 1.78

Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco retired the first 16 Astro batters he faced yesterday and only allowed one hit (a single) in 7 1/3 innings.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, however, Nolasco was "very upset" about allowing his first walk of the spring.

"You don't want to end a day like that -- ever,'' Nolasco said. "It's not acceptable."

"It's frustrating, especially being 0-2 to that guy. I don't care how many walks I have, or don't have. In that situation, it's the absolutely worst way to do it. He was completely overmatched there, and I didn't do my job and let him back in the count. That just can't happen.''

This spring, Nolasco is now 3-0 with an ERA of 1.78 and a K/BB ratio of 21.0.

"The biggest thing I learned as far as pitching is to throw strikes, not walk guys. It just makes your job a million times easier. It's something I've learned and thought about since maybe I was 12."

Despite a horrible start to 2009, Nolasco was 11-4 with an ERA of 3.82 since June. In those 141 1/3 innings, Nolasco struck out 158 batters.

With his strong spring performance, Nolasco is poised for a big season.

Matt Cain gets contract extension

The San Francisco Giants have agreed to extensions with three pitchers: starter Matt Cain, closer Brian Wilson and set-up man Jeremy Affeldt, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We have cost certainty and the fans have the comfort of knowing these guys are going to be in Giants uniforms helping us win games," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean.

Before the extension, Cain would have become a free agent in 2012. Now, he will earn $15 million that season as a Giant.

In addition, ace Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez won't become free agents until after the 2013 season.

"When you see a group of pitchers stay together like that "... it builds us all up," said Cain, per Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "I feel we all share the leadership every time we go out there and pitch."

Cain had a career year last season posting a 14-8 record, 171 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.89.

That said, part of his success was due to (an improvement in his) luck. Cain's 2009 BABIP was .268, which was the fourth-lowest in the Majors, according to Meanwhile, his BABIP in 2008 was .304.

Comparing 2009 to 2008, Cain actually had a worse K/9 rate (7.69 in 2008 to 7.07 in 2009) and HR/9 rate (0.79 in 2008 to 0.91 in 2009) last season.

Per, Cain's average draft position (ADP) is 89.17, which makes him the 20th starter off fantasy draft boards, which makes him a good value.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ian Desmond wins Nationals' SS job

The Washington Nationals have named rookie Ian Desmond as the team's starting shortstop to begin the 2010 season.

This is one of those moves that we can make to help the club this year and in the future,” [Nationals manager Jim] Riggleman said.

Provided Desmond doesn't struggle too much in the role, Cristian Guzman, last year's starting shortstop, will remain a utility player that could certainly be dealt mid-season.

"We have not made any calls and we haven't taken any calls about a trade," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said about Cristian Guzman, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Guzman, who's in the final year of his two-year contract, hit .284 last season after hitting .316 in 2008.

Through Sunday's game against the Braves, Desmond leads the Nationals in runs batted in (14) this spring.

Joba to be a reliever in 2011, too?

It seems to depend on whom you ask.

Yankees pitching coach, Dave Eiland, and Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on the future of Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

Or, at least, the certainty surrounding his future role with the club.

The Yankees decided to go with Phil Hughes for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, which obviously meant a return to relief for Chamberlain.

"We get more out of his ability as a reliever," Eiland said, per Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger. "We feel like he can be a good starter. We feel like he can be a great reliever. ... He's in the bullpen, and he's there to stay, period."

Meanwhile, Cashman said, "We all can have various views. From my perspective, he's going to be a starter that's pitching out of the pen."

In either case, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter talks about the benefit of being emotional and a reliever -- not a starter.

"He's done a good job in that role; Joba is a guy that pitches on emotion, so being in the bullpen benefits his demeanor," Jeter said, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. "He gets by on emotion, and it's easier - or at least more fitting - to get by on emotion when you're in the bullpen. There are guys that can do it as a starter, but for him, I think being in the bullpen is a good thing."

With Joba and Mariano Rivera in the set-up and closer role, the Yankees have arguably the league's best one-two punch.

Ian Kinsler could miss first four days of season, or not

One of the big knocks on Rangers' second baseman Ian Kinsler is his ability (or, lack thereof) to stay healthy. (The other major knock is his relatively low batting average as he's a career .253 hitter.)

After all, he's averaged only 129 games per season in his four-year Major League career.

Now Kinsler, who's ankle is feeling better, said he was "95 percent certain" that he'd be ready for Opening Day on April 5th, per Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News.

Otherwise, he could end up on the disabled list making him eligible to return on April 11th.

"If I miss four days, it's a lot better to miss four days than to miss 15," Kinsler said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's always fun to be part of Opening Day; you've got the huge flags and the planes, and the stadium is packed."

Although there are several players who have the ability to put up 30-30 seasons, such as Matt Kemp (Dodgers) and Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), only one player had a 30-30 season in 2009.

That was Ian Kinsler, who played a career-high 144 games.

Kinsler is the consensus second player at second base drafted in fantasy baseball behind Philadelphia's Chase Utley and will cost you a second-round pick.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another strong spring outing for Carmona

Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona has now lowered his spring ERA to 0.45 after he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks today.

In the past three seasons, Carmona's numbers have deteriorated each year.

That said, Carmona won 19 games in 2007 and finished the season with an ERA of 3.06.

According to, Carmona is not in the top 108 starting pitchers off the board as far as average draft position (ADP) is concerned.

Considering his low (or non-existent) ADP, Carmona has certainly become viable as a late-round sleeper with a good chance to bounce back in 2010.

Lincecum has cut on index finger

San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum has a small cut on his right index finger, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

While the cut may cause Lincecum to miss his final start of the spring on Wednesday, he should be ready for Opening Day.

If he does pitch on Wednesday, however, he's likely to pitch against minor leaguers as manager Bruce Bochy "hides" him from the Dodgers, their Cactus League opponent on Wednesday.

"A lot of teams decide to go that route," Bochy said. "It's easier for him to [work on things] down there."

His one-run, four-inning start yesterday lowered his ERA this spring to 6.94. Lincecum has walked ten batters and has allowed 18 hits in 11 2/3 innings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Soriano to bounce back? Yeah, right!

Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who has five years and $90 million left on his contract, expects to have a big season in 2010.

That makes one of us.

''Maybe if I stayed healthy and put up the numbers I did to get the contract, people wouldn't talk about it,'' Soriano said, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. ''But it's not that I can't do it because I lost my talent. It's my injuries. The last three years, if I [was] 100 percent, I know I could put up some numbers [to show] why I got the contract.''

Soriano blames his knee for his (lack of) production in 2009. In 117 games, he hit .241 with 20 home runs, 55 runs batted in and nine stolen bases.

Out of seasons in which Soriano had 450+ at bats, those were all career-lows with the exception of home runs. He hit 18 home runs in 2001.

''If I play at 100 percent and I don't put up the numbers, then I have to worry about it. But I know whatever happened last year is because of the problem with my knee. My emotions are good because the talent is there. That's the key to everything.''

In fantasy baseball (or fantasy sports, in general), "the key to everything" is drafting players that are values based on where they are being drafted. Currently, Soriano is being drafted with the 79th overall pick as the 24th outfielder drafted, according to

Instead of overpaying for Soriano, let others overpay for his services.

Jose Reyes might be ready for Opening Day

He's back. Sort of. But I'm still staying away.

New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes has been cleared to resume baseball activities and is expected to return to Tradition Field tomorrow, according to John Harper of the NY Daily News.

I can’t tell you if he’s going to be ready for Opening Day,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. “I can’t tell you that he is or that he’s not. But the reality is, we’re happy to get him back. I know for us and for all the players, everybody was excited. He’s excited. Let’s get him back here. Let’s get that smile back on our team.”

Last year, Reyes played only 36 games due to hamstring issues. He hit only .279 with two home runs and 15 runs batted in while stealing 11 bases.

In the four seasons before 2009, Reyes averaged 113 runs, 13.5 home runs, 66 RBI and 64.5 stolen bases per season while hitting .287.

With the exception of batting average, I would be highly surprised if he exceeds his average on any of the other four statistical categories in 2010.

In most fantasy baseball drafts, he's the fourth shortstop drafted behind Florida's Hanley Ramirez, Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins. So, although his thyroid level seems to be back to "normal," if you want him on your fantasy team, you can have him.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joe Nathan to miss 2010 season

As expected, Twins closer Joe Nathan will miss the entire 2010 season and have Tommy John surgery in hopes of being back and ready for the 2011 season.

"It didn't go like we hoped," Nathan said [after playing catch today]. "We knew it was a longshot, but I think this will clear my head. There definitely was no gray area. It was definitely on the dark side. We know now that we're going to need to go in and have some surgery done and get this thing taken care of."

Based on the current pitchers on the roster, Jon Rauch is the most likely replacement for Nathan. Rauch has 26 career saves, of which 17 came with the Washington Nationals in 2008.

"He's got all the closing stuff: punchout pitches, the whole package," [manager Ron] Gardenhire said [of Rauch]. "Whether he wants to do that or not or whether it's the right thing to do remains to be seen."

In addition to Rauch and other internal candidates, such as Matt Guerrier and Pat Neshek, the Twins could make a move for San Diego closer Heath Bell.

If so, that would likely move Luke Gregerson into the closer's role and obviously increase his fantasy value.

After the All-Star break, Gregerson had an ERA of 3.13, WHIP of 1.10 and struck out 53 batters in 37.1 innings.

Mauer to be a Twin until (at least) 2018

Perhaps he could have earned more elsewhere.

Regardless of whether or not that's the case, Joe Mauer, a St. Paul native, will be the Minnesota Twins catcher through the 2018 season.

Mauer and the Twins agreed to an eight-year extension that will pay him $184 million and includes a no-trade clause, per ESPN. This would have been the final season of his four-year contract.

According to, a press conference will be held at 6 p.m. central time on Monday to officially announce the deal.

Had Mauer tested the free-agency market in the fall, ESPN's Buster Olney believes that he could have commanded in the range of $250 million.

Despite being only 26 years old, Mauer is the American League's reigning MVP, has won three batting titles and two Gold Gloves.

In fantasy baseball, he's the consensus first catcher drafted and is a borderline first-round pick with an average draft position (ADP) of 12.71, according to

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wood out, Perez in (at least, for now)

When we did our Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcast focusing on relief pitchers (and catchers) last month, I mentioned that one of the set-up guys that I liked was Cleveland's Chris Perez for a couple of reasons.

With the possibility of the Indians being out of contention mid-season and with Wood in the last year of his contract, the Tribe could have easily unloaded Wood and his contract. In addition, there was the possibility that he would lose the job due to lack of performance or good health.

So, for the next six-to-eight weeks, it's the latter (lack of good health) that will create the opportunity for Perez.

Per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wood has suffered a strained latissimus dorsi that will keep him out for up to eight weeks and put him on the disabled list for the 13th time in his career.

Lonnie Soloff, the Indians' head trainer, said, "If there is one positive, it's not his elbow or shoulder where he's experienced surgical issues in the past."

After the All-Star break last season, Wood converted eight of ten save opportunities, had an ERA of 2.96 and struck out 30 batters in 24 1/3 innings.

"[Wood's absence] won't be such a long time," [Indians GM Mark] Shapiro said, "and we feel Chris can handle the job in the interim. It will be an opportunity for him."

"It's a good audtion," Perez said. "It's a good way for the new coaching staff to get a look at me. I hope I take the ball and run with it and get off to a good start and help this team get off to a good start. I think that's one of the easiest ways to ruin a season right off the bat is to have the bullpen blow games."

Perez, who is only 24 years old, finished 2009 strong with an ERA of 3.10, a WHIP of 1.00 and batting average against of .184 after the All-Star break.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Alex Gordon out up to four weeks

Per Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Royals third baseman Alex Gordon will miss the next 3-4 weeks after breaking his thumb yesterday.

I’m pretty tired today,” Gordon said. “I didn’t get much sleep. Coming off the injury and now having this … sucks.”

Gordon broke the thumb sliding head-first in an attempt to steal second base and manager Trey Hillman said, “It’s a well-documented fact that more injuries on the basepaths happen from sliding head-first than any other way.”

The injury to Gordon will get some additional at-bats for Alberto Callaspo and Josh Fields.

“He’s a natural third baseman,” Hillman said (of Fields). “It really ups the ante of (Callaspo and Fields) getting the majority of the reps at third base. And Josh, we’ll take a look at him at first base. We’ll see where it goes.”

Gordon, who was the second overall pick in 2005, hasn't even begun to live up to the hype. But several sites have dubbed Gordon as a sleeper pick in fantasy baseball for 2010.

After working with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to retool his swing, Royals Hall of Famer George Brett said, "He stays on the right plane a little longer, has more of a weight shift. I think he's moved a little off the plate. ...He's changed his swing considerably. Hopefully it will compute when the games start."

In his young career, Gordon has a batting average of only .230 and .232 in April and May, respectively.

This setback will obviously make it tough for him to get off to a strong start.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

D'Backs, Upton agree to six-year deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks and outfielder Justin Upton have agreed to a six-year contract worth more than $50 million, per

The deal is expected to be announced Wednesday and it will keep the 22-year-old in Arizona through the 2015 season.

As Steve Gilbert of points out, Upton's contract will be the second-largest contract in franchise history behind the $53.4 million contract they gave to Randy Johnson.

Upton, who was the top overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft, hit .300 with 26 home runs and 86 runs batted in while stealing 20 bases in 138 games in 2009.

Many expect Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds to be next. However, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that the Diamondbacks are "not nearly as far along with Reynolds as they are with Upton" and that they "may need to go year to year."

(Note: Duncan Sanford and I will preview corner infielders on our Fantasy Baseball Weekly podcast tonight.)

In fantasy baseball drafts, Upton will be one of the top five outfielders drafted along with guys like Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Matt Holliday. In keeper leagues, he should be one of the top three outfielders drafted along with Braun and Kemp.