Tag:BRad Ziegler
Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
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Spring primer: Arizona Diamondbacks

A

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.

Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis

Probable lineup
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B

Probable rotation
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter

Back-end bullpen
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito

Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay

Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.

Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.

Pessimistic outlook
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
 

Homegrown Team: Philadelphia Phillies



By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

The Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.

Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers

Bullpen

Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ

Notable Bench Players

Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.

What's Good?

The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.

What's Not?

The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else. 

Comparison to real 2011

This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60.  That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.

Next: Chicago White Sox

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Brewers' 'other guys' come through

Jonathan Lucroy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The guy who can't hit didn't need to -- all Jonathan Lucroy needed to do was lay down a bunt and he did that to help give Milwaukee a 9-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.

After Saturday's Brewers win, Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy said he didn't worry about pitching to the Brewers catcher because "it was a guy who can't really hit." Lucroy got Kennedy for what ended up being the winning run on a bloop single Saturday, and then drove in the winning run Sunday with his suicide squeeze in the Brewers' five-run sixth inning.

Lucroy was just one of the "other guys" who powered the team's big inning, as Milwaukee batted around in the inning.

On Saturday, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was criticized for not pitching around Prince Fielder, as the 3-4 tandem of Fielder and Ryan Braun combined to go 5 for 8 in Game 1, while the rest of the team was 3 for 23. Those two continued their dominance on Sunday, going a combined 4 for 8 with four RBI, but the "other guys" stepped up -- going 8 for 27 on the night, including three hits in the sixth.

"If we can get on base with those big guys, and two, three, four hole, that's the key a lot of times," Lucroy said at the postgame news conference. "Especially when he pitches around those guys so much. That means they've got to pitch to them, when we're on base in front of them. Like Corey (Hart) and Nyjer (Morgan)."

Sunday those guys and more came through when the Brewers needed them most. Braun and Fielder drove in four runs and the rest drove in five.

The key was the sixth inning when Jerry Hariston Jr. doubled with one out in the inning to chase Daniel Hudson from the game. Reliever Brad Ziegler then balked Hairston to third and after Yuniesky Betancourt walked, Lucroy came through with the bunt, which gave Milwaukee the lead. Saturday there were two outs for Lucroy when he hit the blooper off of Hudson, Sunday there was just one, so he could lay down the bunt. Lucroy had four sacrifice bunts during the season.

"It's always a tough call for me because I still like him offensively swinging the bat, but he's doing such a good job at the squeeze, that he's in the right spot to do it," manager Ron Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "Sometimes you look at your lineups and you have that pitcher after him. If there's not a place to put Luc on, it's a nice play for him."

After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Mark Kotsay to put the double play back in order, Hart and Morgan came through with back-to-back RBI singles before Braun capped the scoring with an RBI single of his own. By that time, the damage was done and the guy "who can't really hit" came through.

"It don't matter to me. I just like to win," Lucroy said in the news conference. "Whether it's conventionally or unconventionally, I'll take a win any day."

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Instant Reaction: Brewers 9, Diamondbacks 4

Rickie Weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

WP: Takashi Saito

LP: Daniel Hudson

HR: Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Braun, Chris Young, Justin Upton

Series: Brewers lead 2-0

Hero: Braun started the game's scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning and capped it with an RBI single in the five-run sixth inning. Braun's now 6 for 8 in the series with three RBI and four runs scored.

Goat: Brad Ziegler replaced Hudson with after Jerry Hairston Jr.'s sixth-inning double and had the task of just retiring two of the Brewers' worst hitters, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy. Ziegler balked to send Hairston to third and walked Betancourt on four pitches. That's when the Brewers took the lead on Lucroy's successful squeeze -- and Ziegler compounded his mistake by throwing the ball away instead of getting the sure out at first and also put runners on second and third. Ziegler intentionally walked pinch hitter Mark Kotsay before giving up three straight singles to Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Braun to make it 9-4. Kirk Gibson mercifully ended Ziegler's day after Braun's third RBI of the day.

Next: 10/4 at Arizona, 9:37 p.m. ET. Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54) vs. Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38)

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Brewers-Diamondbacks series2011 playoffs

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:37 am
 

Pepper: Capping Strasburg's 2012 innings

Strasburg

By Evan Brunell

Inning limit: As Stephen Strasburg prepares to dazzle baseball with his skills Tuesday night in his much-anticipated return from Tommy John surgery, the question arises as to exactly how many innings the Nats can get out of its presumptive ace next season.

As the Washington Times writes, Washington determines inning limits on an individual basis, taking into account "their age, conditioning, innings in the previous season and big- league innings before the injury." For example, Jordan Zimmermann was shut down at 161 1/3 innings this season, the season after his own Tommy John surgery. That represented a 20 percent increase over his previous career-high set in 2009, which is a traditional barometer in baseball.

Assuming the same 20 percent increase, Strasburg would throw 147 innings in 2012, up from 2010's 123 2/3 innings between the majors and minors. That limit is based off his previous high, not off any complications from the surgery, which could factor in -- although other pitchers have cracked 200 innings a year after surgery, so that shouldn't hold Strasburg back. Washington won't make any type of determination until spring training, which is the smart move. Bank on a cap similar to Zimmermann's 160, but that could always change if the Nats find themselves in a postseason race down the stretch.

Mattingly eager
: Don Mattingly, skipper of the Dodgers, is eager to see Strasburg at work against the Dodgers.  "He's created a buzz, that's for sure, last year, and [he] continues to," Mattingly told MLB.com. "And he's produced. When he's pitched, he's pitched well."

Span back: The concussed Span is back with the Nationals after resting at home in Tampa for the past week. Span, who suffered the injury on June 3 and later hit the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3, still harbors hope of returning this season. "I do truly believe that I will be back on the field," Span told MLB.com. "When? I don't know. But I will be back out there. If things go good, I would like to go into the offseason having played in some games here. I'd rather do that than go into the offseason not playing at all."

It's always interesting to hear a player's take on concussions, as it remains a relatively new (at least, as far as admitting the injury and properly diagnosing it goes) injury and one that is still undergoing plenty of research. Here's Span's take:

"It's not a normal injury," he said. "Sometimes you start wondering if people believe what you're telling them about how you feel. So mentally, it's little things like that. You know how this game is and all masculine sports -- everybody feels that if you're not bleeding, you should go out there and play. And I tried doing that, so it's not like I didn't try. So that's been tough for me."

Retirement? Hideki Okajima doesn't know what his future will hold, but it's definitely not Boston. Despite pitching well in Triple-A after a failed early-season stint with the Red Sox, Okajima hasn't returned since being outrighted off the 40-man. Once a strong setup man, the ensuing years haven't been kind to the Japanese left-hander, but he didn't help himself by saying he'd rather remain in Pawtucket than return to Boston when he was first demoted back down to Triple-A.

Now, Okajima isn't sure what type of offers he will get from other clubs in the winter, but wouldn't rule out a return back to Japan or even retirement.

"I didn't expect to be in this situation, but this is reality," he told the Providence Journal. "I am here. It's obviously very disappointing to be in this situation in this point in the year, but this is reality and this is where I belong right now. I've accepted that fact and just have to rethink how I approach the game so I can be where I want to be next season."

Ziegler adjusting: It took some time for the former A to adjust to life as a Diamondback, both with the transition to the NL and trying to conform to Arizona's philosophy of varying times to the plate to help control the running game. He hasn't allowed a run or walk in his last 4 1/3 innings over six games, stranding eight baserunners. "The National League style of ball is different and it took a little getting used to," Ziegler told MLB.com. "Hitters are more aggressive early in the count and it made a difference just in how I had to approach each at-bat."

9/11: The Yankees won't be in the city for the 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 this Sunday, so will hold a ceremony on Wednesday. Click through to read what the ceremony will hold. (MLB.com)

Furcal wants to return: Rafael Furcal hopes to return to the Cardinals after the year, a prospect St. Louis is hoping comes to pass. The Cards have a busy offseason on their hands, so Furcal may have to wait, but given the shortstop's brittle body, isn't expected to command a significant deal. Ideally, the Cards would ink Furcal for one season on an incentive-laden contract. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Social media: After being part of one of the more controversial plays -- and certainly the most controversial in replay history thus far -- the Marlins' Bryan Peterson discussed the play for a half-hour on Twitter before calling it quits when tweets got derogatory. It's incredible how fast the social media revolution has hit baseball, as now players are taking to Twitter to discuss controversial plays with the fanbase. That would have been unheard of five years ago. (MLB.com)

Drafting time: Baseball players take their fantasy sports seriously. Just check out this photo Matt Kemp tweeted of the Dodgers' fantasy football draft. (Kemp's Twitter)

Rookie time: The Marlins called up third baseman Matt Dominguez as part of September callups. It's the first stint in the bigs for Dominguez, who was considered a heavy favorite to open the year as the starting third baseman. He won't play extensively down the stretch, but will be showcasing himself to be next season's starting third baseman. (MLB.com)

Good news: The Mets got encouraging reports on two injured players integral to the team. Johan Santana is proceeding on pace and will throw on Friday in a minor-league game. With playoffs likely over after the weekend, that would line up Santana's next stint to come in the majors, where he'd throw two or three innings. Meanwhile, Ike Davis participated in baseball activities all weekend pain-free. Doctors still need to sign off on his ankle, but it appears as if he will be 100 percent for spring training. (ESPN New York)

Speaking of... Speaking of Davis, here's some more stuff on the Mets first baseman, who believes he won't need surgery on his ankle. "The bottom line is there are gonna be some effects from this my whole life," Davis told the New York Post. "Either arthritis or something else later on, but as long as it's not sharp pain, [I can play]." While doctors are expected to sign off on his ankle, Davis says it's a day-to-day thing at this point, so surgery remains possible.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:17 am
 

Pepper: Mets winning on and off the field

Wright

By Evan Brunell

AMAZING CALLS: The Mets have instituted a new program this season where Mets players will phone citzens for various reasons, including sad ones.

Such a call led to the arrival of John Falcone and family to Citi Field, mere months after John's son, also named John, was shot to death after saving a 3-year-old from the assailant in Poughskeepie, N.Y. The Falcones came to Citi Field Saturday to watch the Mets eventually defeat the Diamondbacks after David Wright told the family the club would do their best to win for them.

"More than anything, you just hope that for at least one afternoon, they can get their minds away from the tragedy," Wright said.

The Falcone family spoke to multiple Mets players and were allowed on the field prior to the game. They were given seats three rows behind first base and came away with signed baseballs. Needless to say, John and wife Margaret were "overwhelmed" by what the Mets had done for them.

"You have this deep emotional connection between fans and the team, and if you can bring some joy and momentary happiness, of course you want to do it whenever you can," Mets vice president Dave Howard said.

Credit the Mets -- and David Wright, the son of a police officer -- taking a great idea and helping to make a difference. (New York Post)

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Jason Bay's return catapult his team back into contention? Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Mets and the rest of the NL East.

CONSISTENCY: Being in the starting lineup every day and not having to worry about a demotion has worked wonders for new Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin, whose biggest question in his bat is coming around. (North County Times)

HOUSEKEEPING MEANS MASSAGING: To Lenny Dykstra, if you're hired to clean his house, you also need to give him a massage while the former major-league star is buck naked. That's what happened to a potential employee when she interviewed for the housekeeping position. Police are now investigating charges of lewd conduct. (TMZ)

DIETING: Athletics relief pitcher Brad Ziegler could be primed for a big year. The submarining reliever is receiving treatment for childhood asthma, which he believed he no longer suffered from, as well as starting a new diet as his body does not handle milk, eggs or gluten well. Ziegler can already notice a significant difference. (San Francisco Chronicle)

KEEP YOUR PANTS ON: Hanley Ramirez is running out of ways to snap out of the slump that's plagued him in the early going and is turning to superstition to help. He tried wearing high socks, then abandoned them, but no luck. What's next? "Maybe no pants," Ramirez suggested. Something tells me he won't go to that extreme. (Miami Herald)

REHAB TIME: Domonic Brown will begin a rehab assignment later this week in his return from a fractured hamate bone. While Ben Francisco has been equipping himself fine as the starting right fielder, you can bet the Phillies can't wait to see what Brown can do. (Philly.com)

HOLD IT: Can you imagine umpiring a 33-inning game? Take it from someone who's umpired Little League games -- even umpiring those games is no picnic, so imagine how tough Denny Cregg had it as home-plate umpire. But then ratchet it up a notch, as Cregg reveals on the 30-year anniversary of the game, and factor in not going to the bathroom even once during the whole affair. (MLB.com)

INSPIRATIONAL: Or something like it. Take a listen to Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard, who delivered an "inspirational" speech during a minor-league baseball game last season replete with monkeys riding dogs. You read that right. (Youtube)

BASEBALL FAMILY: Bernie Stowe has been part of the Reds' clubhouse for 65 years, and it's grown into a family affair as his two sons pilot the home and visitor's clubhouse. A nice profile on people with deep connections to baseball that you never hear about. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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Posted on: January 16, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 9:58 pm
 

A's add Fuentes to bullpen

Brian Fuentes The A's have continued to bolster their bullpen this offseason, adding former Angels closer Brian Fuentes to a two-year deal, the Associated Press reports.

According to a tweet from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $5 million per year, with incentives for finishing games.

On Friday, the A's added Grant Balfour and then re-signed the arbitration-eligible Brad Ziegler. With Balfour, our own Evan Brunell ranked the A's bullpen as the fourth-best in baseball with its only weakness being a "lack of a top left-handed option." With Fuentes, the A's now have that and one of the best bullpens in the game.

Fuentes wasn't the best closer around, but with the Andrew Bailey finishing out games for Oakland, he won't be asked to do that for the A's, leaving him as a setup man, which is likely a better role for him. Left-handers hit just .128/.222/.149 against him last season.

Fuentes, 35, had 23 saves for the Angels last season before an August trade to the Twins for a player to be named (Loek Van Mil). The lefty appeared in nine games for the Twins, earning a save and allowing no runs in nine games. Overall, he was 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA with 24 saves in 48 appearances in 2010, striking out 47 batters in 48 innings while walking 20.

In 2009, Fuentes led the American League with 48 saves. He signed a two-year deal before the '09 season worth $17.5 million.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 15, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Arbitration deals trickle in


With more than 100 players still on track toward arbitration, and salary figures to be exchanged by Tuesday, expect to see dozens of deals reached in the next three days. Few players actually go to a hearing, and most who settle do so before the exchange of figures.

A few deals were struck Saturday, presumably during a pregame show or halftime:

* Outfielder Ben Francisco, Phillies, one year, $1.175 million.

* Reliever Kyle McClellan, Cardinals, one year, salary not available -- he was the Cardinals' only arb-eligible player.

* Reliever Carlos Villanueva, Blue Jays, one year, $1.415 million.

* Reliever Brad Ziegler, Athletics, one year, $1.25 million.

If you're really into arbitration -- and who wouldn't be, really? -- a good place to track the status of all arb-eligible players is this tracker at mlbtraderumors.com.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com