Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cashman: Cano "could have a Hall of Fame-type career"

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has had a decent start to his promising, young career.

In addition, the 27-year-old had career highs in hits (204), doubles (48) and home runs (25) while hitting .320 and driving in 85 runs last season.

Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says that Cano could be a "Hall of Fame-type player," per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

"He's already one of the premier guys in the game, but that's the only thing separating him from taking it to a whole other level," Cashman said [of Cano's plate discipline]. "If he can be more selective at the plate, he could have a Hall of Fame-type career."

However, isn't it a little premature for this kind of statement?

As Steve Lombardi of points out, a fairly reasonable comparison can also be made between Cano's first five years and those of Jorge Orta, who made two All-Star appearances.

In fantasy baseball, Cano should be one of the top five second basemen drafted and has an average draft position of 48, per

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Links

The Yankees won't work C.C. Sabathia too hard before the season starts to keep him from being overworked before the season starts.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada says of catching A.J. Burnett: "Last year I really got up when he pitched. You can't be passive back there. His stuff is so good, he's electrifying. It's a real challenge, but it's fun. It's unfortunate what happened last season, but I'm looking forward to catching him again. I really am."

Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez says that he wants "to play at least four more years."

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland suffered a mild knee sprain and may have an MRI on Monday.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said of Nick Markakis in batting practice: "He was swinging effortlessly and hitting them in the trees out there, and you wonder, 'How the [heck] do you do that the first day? A special talent."

Rockies reliever Manny Corpas has tweaked his hamstring, but the injury doesn't appear to be serious, according to Troy Renck of Denver Post.

Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan says of not having any minor-league options remaining on his contract: "I think it's a blessing in a way. Guys don't want any options. They want to get rid of them. That way if something little happens they can't get sent down or stuff like that."

Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin says of the new MLB policy restricting firearms in the clubhouse: "There are a few guys that screwed it up for everybody. If it wasn't for the NFL guy a couple years ago bringing a weapon into a nightclub ... you've just got to be smart."

It looks unlikely that the Cardinals will add a free-agent shortstop while Brendan Ryan recovers from wrist surgery.

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto threw less this off-season in order to fresher down the stretch this season.

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is looking to be a leader to some of the team's younger Latin players.

A's pitcher Justin Duchscherer is battling back stiffness.

Who will bat leadoff for the Cubs: Kosuke Fukudome or Ryan Theriot?

Indians manager Manny Acta isn't revealing exactly how he'll use Russell Branyan.

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold said of his Achilles, on which he had surgery: "It feels all right. It's going to take a little while for my legs to get underneath me, but I'll be fine."

The Chicago White Sox named Mark Buehlre as the team's opening day starter.

Ryan Franklin wants to close 2010 strong

If there's something that Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin would like to change, it would be his ability to close the season strongly, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In September 2009, he recorded three of five blown saves on the season and had an ERA of 7.56. In order to improve his stamina down the stretch, he intends to add an additional day of weight training to his in-season workouts.

Meanwhile, manager Tony La Russa hopes that either Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs will emerge as a closing alternative, which could help keep Franklin fresh down the stretch.

"The better your club is, the more action your closer gets," La Russa said. "Therefore, the more important it is to have some kind of other guy so you don't wear your closer out. You still want to win the game and preserve your closer. That's why developing someone who can pitch in the ninth is important to this team."

Franklin made his first All-Star appearance in 2009, a season in which he finished with 38 saves and an ERA of 1.92.

Roy Oswalt says his "back's feeling good"

Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt ended last season on the disabled list (DL) due to a bulging disk in his back. But today he said that his "back's feeling good," according to Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle.

While Oswalt's ERA has moved higher in each of the past four seasons, his 2009 ERA jumped significantly to a career-high 4.12 over his 2008 ERA (3.54). Moreover, his ERA after the All-Star break (4.65) was considerably higher than it was before the break (3.85).

He had the highest flyball percentage of his career (35.6%), which led to the second-most homeruns allowed (19) of his career. In addition, Oswalt had a career low in victories (eight) resulting partly from getting a no decision in 16 games.

Phil Rogers of The Chicago Tribune speculates that Oswalt could be attractive to a contender by mid-season as a potential trade target. If that materializes, it could bump the number of wins for Oswalt in comparison to spending the entire 2010 season with the 'Stro's.

That said, Oswalt isn't setting any goals in reference to ERA, wins, etc. for 2010. Instead he's more concerned with durability.

“It's what I preach to the young guys: 200 innings should be your goal. Win-loss record, you can't really predict that.”

Oswalt hopes that beginning to pitch later in the year due to no World Baseball Classic and a change to his off-season conditioning program will help him stay healthy in 2010.

“I started throwing a little later this year,” Oswalt said . “I don't have to worry about getting some guys out from Japan and Korea.”

In fantasy drafts, Oswalt's average draft position (ADP) is currently 161.7 (14th round) in Yahoo! leagues. That ADP would be a bargain for a healthy Oswalt, who's a good candidate to bounce back after a career-worst year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Webb throws first bullpen session since surgery

For the first time since surgery in August, Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb threw off the mound on Tuesday.

Webb said, "I felt good this morning. I'm right where I expected to be. Having not been on the mound in a year, I am pleased with how I felt."

"He looked comfortable," [D'Backs manager A.J.] Hinch said. "This is a positive sign as we’re getting close to spring training. I thought he looked good.”

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on the 19th, but Webb will throw another bullpen session before then.

Hinch said last month, "We're not going to arbitrarily hold him back if he's ready. But I want him to know that if he's a few days or a week behind the other pitchers, that's fine, too. I don't want that seen as a failure if that happens. We'll see how the next few weeks go and then make a determination on his schedule."

As the 37th-ranked fantasy starter in Yahoo's pre-season rankings, Webb could be a bargain if he regains (anything close to) the form he had in his last full season.

Webb, who pitched only four innings in 2009, was 22-7 with an ERA of 3.30 in 2008.