Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:27 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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 most interesting thing about our latest installment in this series is that I believe this would have been one of the better teams in the majors had we done the exercise three or four years ago. How good would a Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Freddy Garcia top three in the rotation have been a handful of years ago -- along with Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Bobby Abreu leading the offense? Alas, we're doing it now and some of that sounds far less enticing. Still, let's check it out.
1. Hunter Pence, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Lance Berkman, LF
5. Bobby Abreu, 1B
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. John Buck, C
8. Aaron Miles, SS
1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Wandy Rodriguez
4. Bud Norris
5. Jordan Lyles
Closer - Brad Lidge
Set up - Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Fernando Abad,
Long - Felipe Paulino, Freddy Garcia
Notable Bench Players
Ramon Castro, Carlos Guillen, Drew Sutton, Brooks Conrad, Brian Bogusevic
The trio of Pence, Zobrist and Berkman makes the front part of the offense look really attractive and Abreu offers decent protection for the Puma. Fitting in that two-hole would also do wonders for the development of the young Altuve. Can we assume health in this exercise, considering it's for fun? Sure, I will. So the starting rotation looks pretty good -- albeit not dominant anymore -- with Johan as the ace and Oswalt a good number two (remember, back issues hampered him last year). If Lyles isn't ready yet, we can plug in Garcia or Paulino as the five.
Lidge and Qualls aren't bad, but there is nothing in front of them worth much except two starting pitchers -- and, again, we may need one of the two in the rotation. The bottom part of the batting order isn't very good either and the bench is thin. But let's focus on what is really bad: The defense. I fought back and forth with whether to put Abreu or Berkman in LF, but either one is a bad choice. I just feel like Berkman can move better at this point. I also had to shift Pence to center, even though he's better suited in right. Miles is much better used at second base and he's not even really good there.
Comparison to real 2011
Well, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in the majors and in franchise history. This team isn't particularly good, but it's better than that. With that rotation, a decent back-end of the bullpen and some offense, these Astros should be able to work close to the 75-win range. One thing is for sure, they wouldn't be the worst team in the NL Central. I also feel like the best news for Astros fans is there would actually be some name players here to root for, after having seen the likes of Oswalt, Berkman, Pence and Michael Bourn traded over the past two real seasons. Still, you can't help but think that there are enough pieces here that the Astros could have properly built a real-life team that was still in contention in 2011 -- had they made the right moves.
Next: Los Angeles Dodgers
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: Aaron Miles, Astros, Ben Zobrist, Bobby Abreu, Brad Lidge, Brian Bogusevic, Brooks Conrad, Bud Norris, Carlos Guillen, Chad Qualls, Chris Johnson, Drew Sutton, Felipe Paulino, Fernando Abad, Freddy Garcia, Homegrown, Hunter Pence, Johan Santana, John Buck, Jordan Lyles, Jose Altuve, Lance Berkman, Matt Albers, Matt Snyder, NL Central, Ramon Castro, Roy Oswalt, Troy Patton, Wandy Rodriguez
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:23 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jerome Williams, Angels: Williams was one of three pitchers to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning along with Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso and Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt, but neither of those pitchers was pitching for such high stakes. With the Rangers losing earlier in the day to the Rays, the Angels took the field Wednesday night knowing they could make up ground on their rivals in the only real playoff race left. Williams retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced before Seattle's Trayvon Robinson homered to lead off the sixth inning and put Los Angeles in a 1-0 hole. It looked as if Robinson's stellar start would go for naught until the Angels rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to give Robinson and the Angels the 3-1 victory and to pull to 2.5 games behind the Rangers. Robinson's homer was the only hit the Mariners would record, as Williams struck out five and walked one.
Mark Reynolds, Orioles: Reynolds struck out four times (fun stat for the guy who's always sitting next to me at baseball games, strikeouts are worth one out, just like any other way a player makes an out), but with two outs in the 11th inning, Reynolds came through against Hector Noesi with an RBI single to give Baltimore a 5-4 victory in the Bronx.
Carlos Pena, Cubs: Pena was hitting just .135 off of left-handed pitchers and Reds lefty Bill Bray had limited left-handed hitters to just a .188 batting average this season -- so Dusty Baker's decision to replace Logan Ondrusek with Bray was sound. It just didn't work. With the game tied at 3 and one on and one out in the eighth inning, Pena caught up to Bray's first-pitch slider that didn't slide and put it on Sheffield Avenue for a 6-3 Cubs victory. Pena has five home runs and 16 RBI against the Reds this season.
A.J. Burnett, Yankees: As far as Burnett starts go, the Yankee whipping boy wasn't too bad on Wednesday, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking four. No, those aren't great numbers, but it's certainly good for Burnett this season. However, he did make history -- and not the kind he'd like -- on Wednesday with three wild pitches. It was the eighth time he's recorded at least three wild pitches in his career, the most in the modern history. Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro and Tommy John all had seven games with three wild pitches, which is pretty decent company. Burnett has 23 wild pitches this season, the most in baseball.
Daniel Bard, Red Sox: Thanks to Bard, Tim Wakefield failed in his eighth attempt at his 200th career victory. With Boston leading 8-6 in the eighth inning, Bard hit the first batter he faced and after loading the bases and recording two outs, he gave up the lead by walking Eric Thames and Jose Bautista to tie the game. Matt Albers then came in to relieve Bard and gave up a three-run double to Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in five in the game to give the Jays the lead for good. Wakefield wasn't great, allowing five runs (four earned) and three hits in five innings. He walked three and hit two more, but was in line to record the W.
Orlando Cabrera, Giants: Many around the Bay Area are wondering why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with Cabrera over rookie Brandon Crawford at shortstop everyday. It didn't get any better in the team's 3-1 loss to the Padres on Wednesday. In the eighth inning, Cabrera dropped an easy popup behind the infield by Wil Venable, who later scored on a Cameron Maybin triple to give San Diego a two-run cushion going into the ninth with closer Heath Bell on the mound. It was Cabrera's fifth error in 30 games with the Giants. He's also struggling at the plate, going 3 for 28 in the team's last 10 games, including an 0-for-3 night on Wednesday.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Burnett, AL East, AL West, Angels, Athletics, Bill Bray, Brandon Crawford, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Pena, Cubs, Daniel Bard, Giants, Guillermo Moscoso, Hector Noesi, Jerome Williams, Mariners, Mark Reynolds, Matt Albers, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Orlando Cabrera, Phillies, Playoff race: AL West, Rangers, Red Sox, Reds, Roy Oswalt, Tim Wakefield, Trayvon Robinson, Yankees
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:41 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jon Lester left Tuesday's start against the Blue Jays after four innings with a strained latissimus muscle and will miss his final start of the first half, the Boston Globe reports.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves has been told he will start in Lester's place on Sunday, according to the newspaper.
Lester hadn't allowed a hit before exiting the game and Matt Albers retired five batters before allowing his first and only hit in two innings, earning the victory. The Red Sox used three more relievers the day after using four relievers to make up for John Lackey's 2 1/3-inning start.
The Red Sox will have their left-hander examined on Wednesday.
"We'll certainly get him checked out extensively tomorrow," Francona told reporters. "That good sign of it, I think, is that he didn't do it on one pitch. Between innings, it felt like it was cramping on him. There's no way we're going to let him pitch."
If Lester goes on the disabled list, he could return July 22, the sixth game after the All-Star break.
"It should be fine," Lester told reporters. "Hopefully for the rest of the season. I don't think it's a long-term issue."
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 2:31 am
By Evan Brunell
Joel Hanrahan, Pirates -- Hanrahan nailed down his 13th save by getting through some pressure. He entered the game with two runners on base and no outs in the ninth for the Tigers. Brandon Inge singled, then Hanrahan bounced back to strike out a batter and induce a double play. His ERA drops to 1.66, and it's kind of obvious at this point, especially with Evan Meek's poor season, that the Pirates made the right choice picking Hanrahan to close.
Tim Lincecum, Giants -- Lincecum is appointment viewing. He is one of the greatest pitchers we will ever see pitch in our lifetimes regardless of career timespan, and that was on display Saturday. The Freak went the distance, scattering three hits amongst six strikeouts and no walks, dropping his ERA to 2.06 and inserting himself into the NL ERA leaderboard discussion. Lincecum is able to chew up a lot of innings but is entering crazy-workhorse phase as he's pacing for 252 innings pitched. If he reaches his projections (which is a lot to ask to keep up that kind of sustained dominance), that leaves him with 270 strikeouts. That's, uh, a lot. It's doubtful Lincecum will hit these numbers, but the scary thing is... well, I'm not discounting that he'll hit those numbers.
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- What more can you say at this point? Even Bautista himself admits it's ridiculous. "It's always a surprise when you keep hitting home runs," Bautista told the Associated Press. "I'm not surprised about the RBIs or the fact that I'm playing well. Given what happened last year, knowing what I feel like I'm capable of doing, I expected to perform at a high level. I'm doing probably a little bit better than I expected." You think? Bautista blasted two home runs, driving in four with a 3-for-4 night to obliterate the Astros. He's swelled to a 65-homer pace through 133 games. Um, they should totally play him more. And they will, so... am I really making the leap that Bautista could potentially take down Barry Bonds? Like with Lincecum... probably not. But we've already reached ridiculous proportions with Bautista, so why not some more?
Matt Albers, Red Sox -- Albers blew it completely for the Red Sox as the seventh-inning-guy (the setup man's assistant, basically) gave up six runs, five earned with just three hits allowed in zero innings. Yep, no out recorded during this mess that also saw two walks. Albers entered the eighth inning with the Sox up 3-1. The game was in control, so manager Terry Francona decided to use the setup man's assistant in the setup role. But Daniel Bard hadn't pitched since Thursday. The Red Sox had been lucky up to that point, getting five innings from Alfredo Aceves in a spot start with one run earned. Then, Dan Wheeler went 1 1/3 strong, showing that he may be ready to contribute now that he's healed from his injury. Rich Hill, the sidearming lefty, got two strikeouts (albeit with a hit allowed) and that set up for an easy Bard-to-Papelbon finish. But instead, Albers. At least the Red Sox got to take a look at new reliever Franklin Morales, who was intriguing enough in his two innings of relief.
Jon Garland, Dodgers -- Garland didn't do well against his former team, giving up seven runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. With just one walk allowed and two whiffs, it's clear nothing was working for him. Garland was pretty decent in his previous five starts, with one other hiccup coming on April 15, when he made his first start. The kind of pitcher he is, he still has a few clunkers in store.
Adan Dunn, White Sox -- Alexi Ramirez, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski all had nice days against Garland. Adam Dunn missed on the fun with four strikeouts and a walk. He struck out swinging in the first with a man on second, to end the third with none on, walked to load the bases in the bottom fourth in a sequence that would eventually see a run scored, whiffing in the sixth with men on first and second and another in the bottom eighth with a man on second. On one hand, nice to work that walk and contribute in a way that Adam Dunn is known for. But that other stuff he's known for was quite prominent on the day.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 12:20 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
UPDATE: Jed Lowrie broke up the no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning, singling to right off Downs. Downs walked Kevin Youkilis to start the inning, then got David Ortiz looking.
In the top of the seventh, Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead.
A two-and-a-half hour rain delay and change of pitchers hasn't helped Boston's bats -- as the Angels have a combined no-hitter through six innings.
Starter Ervin Santana didn't allow a hit in the first four innings, striking out seven Red Sox batters in four innings before the rain delay at Fenway Park. Rich Thompson replaced Santana after the delay and held the Red Sox hitless for another 1 2/3 innings.
Dan Wheeler has entered the game for the Red Sox in the seventh with the game tied 0-0.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 9:44 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 1:05 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Matsuzaka left the game after the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Ichiro Suzuki, hit a ball up the middle past him. Matsuzaka threw five fastballs to Suzuki, the last at 87 mph and none faster than 88 mph. After the single, catcher Jason Varitek went to the mound and appeared to call in manager Terry Francona and the team's trainers. After a discussion, Matsuzaka came out of the game.
Matt Albers replaced Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka allowed three hits and three runs (one earned) in four-plus innings of work. He walked four batters while striking out four. His velocity started in the low-90s before slowing throughout his outing.
Justin Smoak's first-inning two-run double broke Matsuzaka's 15-inning scoreless streak.
Following the game, Francona said Matsuzaka will be re-evaluated on Saturday and is still expected to make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Angels at Fenway Park.
"I have an idea what's going on in my elbow right now," Matsuzaka said through his interpreter, according to the Boston Herald. "So I'm not worrying too much about it."For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 2:23 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 7:22 pm
The Red Sox aren't done shopping as they hope to strike for both a left- and right-handed reliever to slot in the bullpen as the Boston Globe notes.
Names on the board for the lefties include Pedro Feliciano and Brian Fuentes, while right-handers Jesse Crain, Grant Balfour, Matt Guerrier and Kerry Wood are also options.
However, the Red Sox are also interested in Matt Albers, although the righty would be used strictly as depth. That seems to indicate Boston is talking to Albers about a minor-league deal.
Albers was non-tendered by the Orioles after three seasons in uniform, coming over from Houston in the Miguel Tejada deal. Albers had a 4.52 ERA in 75 2/3 innings, whiffing 49 and walking 34. He has electric stuff but has been unable to harness it. He could develop into a solid reliever if he can find the right coach to work out his control issues.
UPDATE : Peter Gammons on NESN says the deal is done, per the Globe .
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
The deadline to tender contracts was Thursday night at 11:59 p.m., and here's the players who were not tendered contracts and are now free agents:
A's: Edwin Encarnacion, Jack Cust, Travis Buck
Angels: Kevin Frandsen
Astros: Sammy Gervacio
Blue Jays: Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis
Braves: Matt Diaz
Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
Giants: Eugenio Velez, Chris Ray
Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith
Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
Mets: Chris Carter, Sean Green, John Maine
Nationals: Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta, Chein-Ming Wang
Orioles: Matt Albers
Padres: Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Luis Perdomo, Matt Antonelli
Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
Rangers: Dustin Nippert
Rays: Lance Cormier, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, J.P. Howell
Red Sox: Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller
Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
Royals: Josh Fields
Tigers: Zach Miner
White Sox: Bobby Jenks, Erick Threets
Yankees: Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Mosley
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2010 free agency, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Angels, argenis Diaz, Astros, Athletics, Augie Ojeda, Blaine Boyer, Blue Jays, Bobby Jenks, Braves, Brewers, Brian Burres, Chein-Ming Wang, Chris Carter, Chris Ray, D.J. Carrasco, Diamondbacks, Dioner Navarro, Dodgers, Donnie Veal, Dustin Mosley, Dustin Nippert, Edwin Encarnacion, Erick Threets, Eugenio Velez, Fred Lewis, George Sherrill, Giants, Hideki Okajima, Hot Stove League, J.P. Howell, Jack Cust, Jeremy Accardo, Joe Inglett, Joel Peralta, John Maine, Jose Veras, Josh Fields, Kevin Frandsen, Lance Cormier, Lastings Milledge, Luis Perdomo, Manny Delcarmen, Mariners, Marlins, Matt Albers, Matt Antonelli, Matt Diaz, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Rockies, Ronny Paulino, Royals, Russell Martin, Ryan Church, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Sammy Gervacio, Scott Hairston, Sean Green, Taylor Buchholz, Todd Coffey, Tony Gwynn Jr., Travis Buck, Trent Oeltjen, White Sox, Wil Nieves, Willy Aybar, Yankees