Mutual interest between Brewers, Dempster

December 5, 2012

> It was reported today that Ryan Dempster is interested in being a Brewer in 2013. And, as the Brewers have implied over the past few weeks, the Brewers are interested in him.

Only one issue: the amount of time Dempster would be spending in Milwaukee.

Doug Melvin has shown his reluctance to give out three-year deals this offseason- particularly to pitchers. And you can’t blame him after seeing how the multi-year deals given to Jeff Suppan, David Riske, and Randy Wolf all ended. While I have a tough time imagining Dempster would turn out as badly as any of those names, there always a chance, especially since Dempster is already 35- older than any of the guys I just listed when they signed.

And that’s the thing: Dempster has made it known that he’s looking for a three-year deal. Unfortunately for the Brewers, the only other known team to be seriously considering Dempster- the Red Sox- is probably willing to give him those three years (the Sox have already given three-year deals to Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino this offseason).

My solution to this issue for the Brewers would be to give Dempster two guaranteed years, then maybe a club or vesting option for the third year. I wish things worked that easily, but I can see where Dempster wouldn’t take that as full commitment from the Brewers.

> Melvin also hinted that the Brewers have offers on the table to Sean Burnett and Jason Grilli. The Brewer Nation later confirmed that those offers do exist: Grilli’s offer is worth $1.1 million for one year, while Burnett’s is $2.3 million for two.

> For some reason, the Brewers tried talking to the Mets about R.A. Dickey. But, as you’d expect, those talks didn’t get anywhere. The Mets asking price for the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is insanely high, and the Brewers simply don’t have the prospects to give in return.

> Brett Myers’ name has also popped up in Brewers rumors. If he were willing to be a reliever, I’d take him. But as a starter? He can go rot with Twins, for all I care.

> The Brewers have kicked around lefties Tom Gorzelanny and John Lannan as potential relief options. Gorzelanny has previous starting experience, but has pitched in relief over the past few years for the Nationals. Lannan, on the other hand, has been a starter basically his entire career, and I have to imagine he’d like to continue starting.

> Just a few other random notes from an interview with Ron Roenicke today: Mat Gamel is progressing well in recovering from his knee injury, Jim Henderson could be the setup man, and RRR is debating whether to bat Norichika Aoki or Rickie Weeks leadoff.

> Minor moves: 

Rockies: Acquired Wilton Lopez from the Astros.
Rays: Re-signed Sean Rodriguez to a one-year deal; acquired Yunel Escobar from the Marlins.
Nationals: Signed Dan Haren to a one-year deal.
Red Sox: Signed Victorino to a three-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Signed Eric Hinske to a one-year deal.
Athletics: Signed Kyle Newby, Luke Montz, Justin Thomas, Garrett Olson, Scott Moore, Darwin Perez, and Mike Ekstrom to minor league deals.
Marlins: Acquired Derek Dietrich from the Rays.
Giants: Re-signed Marco Scutaro to a three-year deal.


Haudricourt confirms that Braun was penalized

October 29, 2012

> It was just as I feared. In last night’s article, I opined that Ryan Braun likely lost the Hank Aaron Award to Buster Posey because of Braun’s failed drug test prior to this season, because there’s no way Posey had a better overall offensive season than Braun.

Unfortunately, it seems I was right. Tom Haudricourt wrote about a similar topic last night, and he also thought Braun had the better offensive season. He suggested that Braun lost it because of the failed the drug test, but then also added this at the end of his article:

“And, from talking to members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I get the distinct impression that Braun also will be penalized in the voting for NL MVP. He won last year before news of his drug test became public but from what I’m hearing, Posey will claim that award as well. By performance alone, Braun deserves to be among the top vote-getters but some are speculating he will be left off some ballots completely. That would show a definite agenda by an voters who do so.”

Unbelievable. I won’t be at all surprised at all if Posey wins the NL MVP; at this point, he’s the only other viable option for it if Braun doesn’t win. But Braun being left off the ballot completely is beyond unfair. And there’s a reason for that that may not come to mind immediately, but I might write an article about it in the coming days.

Anyway, there will probably be some “rogue” writers from the BBWAA who will put Braun on their ballots. But any remaining hope I had of Braun somehow winning the MVP has been drained.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> First of all, the 2012 baseball season is officially over.

Second, the Giants have won the World Series. Yes, the team that was down 2-0 to the Reds in the NLDS, down 3-1 to the Cardinals in NLCS- that team swept the World Series in four games against the Tigers.

The Tigers actually put up somewhat of a fight tonight, as they had an early lead over the Giants on Miguel Cabrera’s second inning home run. The also tied it at 3-3 in the sixth inning on Delmon Young’s solo shot.

But, none other than Marco Scutaro drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning. The World Series MVP will probably be a toss-up between him and Pablo Sandoval, who hit .500 in the series, including that three-homer game in Game 1.

THE NEWS

> Despite Haudricourt comments on the Josh Hamilton situation the other day, Nick Cafardo suggests that the Brewers are still “at least looking into the possibility, though their top priorities are still finding a starting pitcher and revamping their bullpen.”

> Clayon Kershaw won the Roberto Clemente Award.

THE EXTRAS

> My attempt at a Brewers-themed pumpkin for Halloween. You’ll immediately notice that I’m not the most artistic person. But this was done free-handed, which helps my case a little.

> This is the second straight title for the Giants in which they couldn’t celebrate with their home crowd, but their home crowd was dedicated enough to celebrate with them.


Giants take Game 1

October 25, 2012

> The Giants took Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, quickly turning the tables on Justin Verlander and the favored Tigers. Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs- two coming off Verlander- in the game, and joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only players to accomplish that feat in a World Series game.

Barry Zito came through for his team again, throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and picked up the win. It’s also worth mentioning that Tim Lincecum, who has found a postseason home in the bullpen, struck out five over 2 1/3 innings of relief for Zito. Verlander, on the other hand, got his head blown off for five runs in four innings. It was his shortest non-delayed outing since June of 2010.

MY TAKE

> Taking  a look around the Internet earlier today, it appeared most of the “experts” were picking the Tigers to win this thing in five or six games. Personally, I chose the Tigers to win it in seven, and I’m going to stand by that, even after tonight’s disaster. But I’m usually wrong in these sorts of decisions.

> Jose Valverde seems to be going all mid-season John Axford on the Tigers this postseason. Phil Coke handled the closing duties during the ALCS, but Valverde got his chance to redeem himself today, since the Tigers were already down by five runs. But he didn’t help the cause, allowing two runs on four straight hits. The one batter he retired was Lincecum on a strikeout, but, unfortunately for him, that doesn’t really count.

> MLB Network compared Marco Scutaro to Paul Molitor. Meh.

Scutaro is having an unbelievable postseason, but I’m not ready to put him up there with an HOFer.

THE NEWS

> According to multiple sources, Norichika Aoki sat in as a guest commentator for the Japanese broadcast of the World Series.

> Davey Johnson of the Nationals won TSN’s Manager of the Year Award, as he received the most first-place votes. But what struck me is that Ron Roenicke received a first place vote.

> Minor moves:

Cubs: Claimed Carlos Gutierrez off waivers from the Twins; designated Anthony Recker for assignment.
Twins: Declined Matt Capps’ option for 2013; outrighted Jeff Manship, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, Kyle Waldrop, P.J. Walters, and Matt Carson off of thier 40-man roster.
Mariners: Declined Miguel Olivo’s option for 2013; released Munenori Kawasaki.

> I was going to write a big article tonight on fan bases, but wound up not having enough time. I’ll have it up tomorrow or the day after. (And I know the topic “fan bases” sounds extremely broad, but you’ll know what it means when I get the article up.)


Two possible adds for the Brewers this offseason

October 24, 2012

> Today was one of those extremely boring days that we’re going to be seeing a lot of during the offseason once the World Series is over. There was basically no news- at least on the Brewers front. But, scrolling through MLB Trade Rumors earlier and seeing some of the smaller names that are going to be out there this offseason, I figured I’d project how some of them could fit in with the Brewers. I’ll be doing a lot of this over the next few months, but I’m going to start with two random players- a reliever and a shortstop- and discuss how they would fit in with the Brewers, what the odds of the Brewers signing them are, and so on.

The first name that caught my eye scrolling down MLBTR is reliever Shawn Camp, who spent 2012 with the Cubs. Camp doesn’t come to mind when you think of dominant relievers, but he’s quietly been relatively consistent over the past few years with the Blue Jays (2008-2011) and the Cubs (2012). In 2012, he went 3-6 with a 3.59 ERA, and was one of the bright spots of a Cubs bullpen that wasn’t the greatest (though not as much of a train wreck as the Brewers’ ‘pen). He throws in the high-80′s to low-90′s, but has a pretty deceptive 3/4 delivery. I think he’d be a solid fit in what will hopefully be a revamped Brewers bullpen. The Cubs have shown interest in bringing him back next year, but, if the Brewers show interest as well, I get the feeling he’d rather come to Milwaukee instead of Chicago.

The next guy is shortstop Marco Scutaro- yes, the NLCS MVP for the Giants. I’ve been thinking about him as a possible option for the Brewers since September, but the chances of the Brewers getting him are looking slimmer and slimmer with Scutaro’s unbelievable postseason feats. Anyway, I thought he’d fit in as the starting shortstop if Jean Segura shows that he isn’t quite ready for the starting role. But, even if Segura did earn the starting role, I thought Scutaro would be a better option to sign as a back-up than bringing back Alex Gonzalez in that role. Again, though, Scutaro’s recent success tells me he’ll be looking for something more on the free agent market this offseason. So, unless the Brewers are willing to give him the starting nod at shortstop regardless of the Segura and Gonzalez situations, I’m doubtful of the Brewers’ chances of bringing in Scutaro.

THE NEWS

> Jonathan Lucroy will not be eligible for Super Two Status.

> The Marlins fired Ozzie Guillen after his disastrous first season in Miami. Guillen and Bobby Valentine (Red Sox) held similar circumstances going into this season with their respective teams: each had been given a great team- at least on paper- by their front office, and were expected to contend for a title. I can tell you that I fell for it; I had both the Red Sox and Marlins making the playoffs via the Wild Card prior to the start of the season. But chemistry issues in the clubhouse plagued both teams, hence the early exits of both managers.

> Japanese super-prospect Shohei Otani- pretty much this offseason’s Yu Darvish- has decided to pursue an MLB career rather than stay in Japan. Just like last year with Darvish, the Rangers and Red Sox have done the most work with him so far.

It’s a long shot, but I think he’d be an interesting option for the Brewers. At first, I thought he wouldn’t make sense for them financially. But, looking at Otani’s situation, it’s unlikely an 18-year old is going to get the money Darvish did last year. Plus, since Otani is just coming out of college and never signed with a Japanese team, the MLB team that signs him won’t have to pay the idiotic posting fee.

> Randy Wolf is going to miss all of 2013 due to Tommy John Surgery, a procedure he also had to go through in 2005. That makes me wonder if this had something to do with his sub-par performance with the Brewers in 2012.

Minor moves:

Blue Jays: Claimed David Herndon off waivers from the Phillies; designated Tyson Brummett for assignment.
Phillies:
Outrighted Michael Martinez to Triple-A.
Angels: Outrighted Jeremy Moore to Triple-A.


Giants pull another series out of the hat

October 23, 2012

> Coming back from a three-game deficit in one series is impressive, but to accomplish that feat in two postseason series in a row is unbelievable. The Giants did just that- they won three consecutive games against the Reds after being down 2-0 in the NLDS, and have now done the same against the Cardinals in the NLCS after being down 3-1.

The Giants’ 9-0 blowout sealed an improbable comeback for them, and snagged them the National League Pennant for the second time over the last three years. Matt Cain labored threw 5 2/3 innings, but managed to keep the Cards off the board, and got more than enough help from his offense. But his offense itself received some help, that coming from the Cardinals’ defense, as it did for the last three games of the series. Shortstop Pete Kozma had another rough day at the office, as it was his miscue(s) in the third inning that broke the game open for the Giants. Kyle Lohse and Joe Kelly combined to give up seven earned runs through the first three innings, but it wasn’t their fault, for the most part.

Anyway, the NLCS MVP unanimously goes to Marco Scutaro, who hit .500 in this series. He had multi-hit games in six of the seven games, and continued to produce even after Matt Holliday took him out during a double play early in the series.

MY TAKE

> There was a ton of speculation on Twitter tonight that Cain hitting Holliday in the sixth inning tonight was “retaliation” for Holliday sliding into Scutaro earlier this series. Here’s the thing, though: it was an 0-2 pitch and the Giants were up by seven. Either Cain is a huge wimp, or he let one get away, and I’m more convinced by the latter.

THE NEWS

> Dave May passed away today. May, a former big league All-Star, was traded from the Brewers to the Braves in exchange for Hank Aaron back in 1974. He played for the Orioles, Braves, Brewers, Pirates, and Rangers, but his best season came in 1973 with the Crew, when he hit 25 home runs with 93 RBIs and a .303 batting average.

> Minor moves:

Blue Jays: Claimed Bobby Wilson off waivers from the Angels; designated Chad Beck for assignment.

THE EXTRAS

> Why FOX decided to put the camera on Hunter Pence during “God Bless America” is beyond me.


NLCS draws even

October 22, 2012

> The Giants just continue to win elimination games, and their 6-1 win over the Cardinals tonight added to that streak. The NLCS is now tied at 3-3, with the deciding Game 7 to be played tomorrow.

Ryan Vogelsong was the story tonight, as he went seven innings while giving up a run on four hit. He walked one and struck out nine. He finishes with a 2-0 record and a 1.29 ERA in the NLCS, and has been the one consistent pitcher for the Giants this postseason.

The offense for the Giants wasn’t bad, either. Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval, and Brandon Belt each had two hits. In Scutaro’s case, it was his fifth multi-hit game of this series alone, and he has at least one hit in every game. If the Giants wind up pulling this off tomorrow, Scutaro could almost win the NLCS MVP by default (that, or he and Vogelsong should be co-MVPs).

That Giants offense was helped by the Cardinals’ defense, though, who screwed over Chris Carpenter again. Tonight it was shortstop Pete Kozma’s error in the second inning that blew open a four-run frame for the Giants.

THE NEWS

> The Diamondbacks made a pair of early-offseason trades yesterday. First, they acquired shortstop Cliff Pennington and infield prospect Yordy Cabrera from the Athletics in exchange for outfielder Chris Young. Then, the D-backs turned around and traded Cabrera to the Marlins for reliever Heath Bell.

I have to question this series of moves- particularly the Bell move- but Kevin Towers usually seems to know what he’s doing.

> The Red Sox hired John Farrell as their new manager.

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised Curtis Granderson’s option for 2013.
Diamondbacks: Exercised J.J. Putz’s option for 2013; designated ex-Brewer Takashi Saito for assignment.
Rays: Outrighted Wilking Rodriguez and Rich Thompson to Triple-A.
Red Sox: Sent Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays as part of compensation for Farrell.
Blue Jays: Sent David Carpenter to the Red Sox, also part of the Farrell deal.

THE EXTRAS

> I realized today that this Reds commercial has disappeared from TV stations broadcasting the postseason. Makes sense, since the Reds were eliminated, but man am I happy it’s gone.

> The only way Drew Brees can make himself look good: star in a commercial with One Direction.


Brewers’ BBWAA awards handed out

October 17, 2012

> The Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America handed out their annual awards to Brewers players on Monday. Most of the awards went to the guys you’d expect to receive awards, but there were a few surprises.

Ryan Braun received the MVP award- I want to say unanimously because he received all eight first-place votes, but there were other players to whom the award would have been worthy. Braun backed up an MVP season in 2011 with a 2012 that was just as good: 41 home runs (a career-high for him), 112 RBIs, and a .319 batting average. Braun also stole 30 bases for his second straight 30-30 season. He led the National League in home runs, total bases (356), runs (108), and OPS (.987). He also tied for the league lead in extra-base hits with 80.

Yovani Gallardo took home the best pitcher award, and we can safely say that was unanimous (he also received all eight first-place votes). He put up close to identical numbers to his 2011 season in 2012, going 16-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Those 16 wins led the Brewers by a landslide, and tied him for sixth in the NL. Gallardo also had his fourth straight 200+ strikeout season (204 this year).

Aramis Ramirez won Top Newcomer, taking seven of the eight first-place votes. He hit 27 home runs and had 105 RBIs in his first season with the Brewers. Ramirez also reached the .300 mark on the last day of the season. He led the NL in doubles, was tied with Braun for the most extra-base hits, and was just three shy of Lyle Overbay’s franchise record for doubles. Ramirez was also the best defensive third baseman in the league, as he had the fewest errors and a .977 fielding percentage. Norichika Aoki took the other first-place vote after his sensational rookie season.

Somewhat surprisingly- but deservingly- Marco Estrada won the Unsung Hero award. He went just 5-7, but had a very respectable 3.64 ERA, and was a reliable option after being thrown in the rotation full-time. Carlos Gomez, Martin Maldonado, and Mike Fiers also received first-place votes for the Unsung Hero.

Lastly, John Axford received the Good Guy Award. I’m in agreement with this one since Axford managed to keep a positive attitude through his struggle of a season in 2012. Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Gomez, and Estrada also received first-place votes for this award.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> There are games in progress right now, but here’s the coverage from the last two days.

> The Giants defeated the Cardinals, 7-1, on Monday. The Giants got their first start of more than six innings, as Ryan Vogelsong threw seven strong. Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense took advantage of some shoddy Cards defense to knock around Chris Carpenter. Angel Pagan hit a lead-off home run, and Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot had two RBIs apiece.

> The Yankees’ offense remained dormant, as they lost to the Tigers, 2-1, last night. The fact that Justin Verlander was pitching (8 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K) might serve as an excuse, but now the Yanks are a game from elimination. The Tigers, meanwhile, can reach the World Series for the first time since 2006.

THE NEWS

> Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba each elected free agency after rejecting their outright assignments.

> The Brewers added Jesus Sanchez, a righty reliever, to the 40-man roster. He had a 1.62 ERA in 71 2/3 innings combined at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

If only Jesus could have saved our bullpen this year.

> Buster Olney suggested that the Brewers are players for Josh Hamilton, who will more than likely be one of the most highly-touted free agents on the market. The Brewers probably don’t have the money, but might be able to sway him since Johnny Narron is one of their coaches. Narron and Hamilton are very close.

> MLB Trade Rumors looked at the offseason situation for the Brewers.

> The minor moves over the past few days:

Cubs: Acquired Marcelo Carreno from the Tigers to complete the August Jeff Baker trade.
Mets: Removed Justin Hampson and Rob Johnson from their 40-man roster, making them both free agents.
Dodgers: Outrighted Blake Hawksworth, who elected free agency.
Blue Jays: Claimed Scott Cousins off waivers from the Marlins; claimed Cory Wade off waivers from the Yankees; designated Juan Abreu for assignment.
Red Sox: Claimed Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Marlins; designated Che-Hsuan Lin for assignment.
Nationals: Outrighted Carlos Maldonado and ex-Brewer Brett Carroll, both of whom elected free agency.
Orioles: Outrighted Ronny Paulino and Dana Eveland, both of whom elected free agency.
Yankees: Outrighted Justin Thomas, who elected free agency.
Marlins: Outrighted Nick Green, Donnie Murphy, and Gil Velazquez to Triple-A.

THE EXTRAS

> Rumors have been circling ever since Monday’s extra-innings Tigers-Yankees game that Alex Rodriguez was caught flirting with fans while he was in the on-deck circle. Well today it was confirmed, and now there are pictures to go with the story. Turns out one of the blondes he was talking to is a model.


Looking back at the first week of 2011′s offseason

November 7, 2011

> The first week of the 2011 MLB offseason was rather quiet, with none of the top free agents reaching agreements with new teams (or the ones they were already with). But I guess that wasn’t expected. Anyway, despite this, there were a lot of minor moves, with some more significant than others, and later in this article I’ll try to go through every move made. But, before that, there is one Brewers-related piece of news that I should probably share.

> Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy tomorrow. Ugh.

Over the past few days, Sveum has been considered the front-runner to become the new Red Sox manager, but nothing has been confirmed. And now he’s going to have a chance to become the Cubs’ manager, a team he has seen up close and personally for quite a few years now as the Brewers’ hitting coach.

So the reason I said “ugh” earlier is because, no matter who it is, I find it painful to see someone from a team I like leave for a team I hate. For instance, I was crushed a few years back when Brett Favre left the Packers for the Jets, and eventually the Vikings- a team I despise. (That is, until I figured out what a loser Favre was under the surface, but you still get the point.) Anyway, I’d be happy for Sveum no matter where he goes (if he does end up managing), but let me say I’d be much happier if he went to the Red Sox instead of the Cubs.

> But, with that aside, let’s get to all the moves that occurred during this first week of the Hot Stove. I guess I didn’t realize how much I didn’t cover on BreakingWI, but here’s my chance to redeem myself.

> Frank McCourt agreed with MLB to sell the Dodgers, and hopefully put this divorce-bankruptcy crap behind him and the franchise. The Dodgers suffered that for far too long, and hopefully whoever ends up being the team can right that ship.

> The long expected CC Sabathia opt-out never actually happened, as the Yankees managed to retain him by adding an extra year, worth $25 million, to his already-remaining for years on the seven-year deal he signed back in 2008 (after he left the Brewers). So much for that… I was looking forward to him sticking it up the Yankees’… Er, maybe I shouldn’t go there.

> The Indians acquired 15-year veteran starting pitcher Derek Lowe from the Braves. Lowe has definitely been on a decline in recent years, but the Indians hope his veteran presence can anchor their very young rotation.

> The Phillies successfully signed designated hitter Jim Thome to a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. Oh, wait, they’re a National League team… Apparently they expect him to play a little first base and be a power lefty off the bench, but I can’t see this deal working out very well.

> Cards manager Tony La Russa decided to retire after 33 seasons as a Major League manager. He definitely went out on top, that’s for sure…

> Davey Johnson is going to be the Nationals’ manager in 2012 as well, after picking up where Jim Riggleman left off midway through the 2011 season.

> The Giants exercised their option on lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and also signed fellow lefty reliever Javier Lopez to a two-year deal.

> The Dodgers re-signed Juan Rivera to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million after acquiring him from the Blue Jays halfway through the 2011 season.

> The Cubs exercised their half of the option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez declined his half, thus becoming a free agent.

> The Nationals re-signed starter Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal, following three seasons full of injuries- two of which he didn’t even pitch at all. But, before that, he was a dominant starting pitcher for the Yankees.

> The Diamondbacks made a few signings on and off the field, as they locked up shortstop John McDonald with a two-year, $3 million deal, along with a one-year deal worth $1.2 million for catcher Henry Blanco. They also extended GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, both of whom completely turned around what looked to be another disappointing season coming in.

> The Brewers declined their $17.5 million option on Francisco Rodriguez, which was inherited from the Mets. They also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (HOORAY!).

> The Mets pretty much came out and said that they’re not going to be able to retain shortstop Jose Reyes. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s sort of odd that they’d come out and say it like that.

> The Braves have announced that they would trade starter Jair Jurrjens and outfielder/second baseman Martin Prado, if given a good enough deal. Right now, the Royals look like the best destination, at least for Jurrjens.

> The Giants are willing to trade starter Jonathan Sanchez. Not sure who would want that walk-machine, unless they really need starting pitching.

> The Cardinals declined their options  on shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel. That was surprising to some (including me).

> The Red Sox picked up their $6 million option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

> The Nationals appear to be in the running for starter Roy Oswalt, whose option was declined by the Phillies prior to the World Series.

> It sounds like the Phillies are literally dying for Michael Cuddyer, which means they’ll probably have him. But that would pretty much nullify the Thome deal, because Cuddyer could play a similar role, but is so much more versatile.

> The Diamondbacks declined options on starter Zach Duke, second baseman Aaron Hill, and shortstop Willie Bloomquist, but are probably open to re-signing Hill and Bloomquist.

> The Blue Jays picked up their option on outfielder Edwin Encarnacion, but declined their option on reliever Jon Rauch.

> The Royals picked up their $6 million option on closer Joakim Soria, who is coming off a horrible 2011. But, prior to that, he was one of the top closers in the game.

> The Reds picked up their option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but declined the option on closer Francisco Cordero.

> The Padres declined options on starter Aaron Harang, reliever Chad Qualls, and first baseman Brad Hawpe. I thought it was interesting that they didn’t pick up Harang’s option, because he actually quietly put up a good season.

> The Rays exercised their option  on starter James Shields and closer Kyle Farnsworth, while declining both of those pitchers’ batterymate, Kelly Shoppach.

> Mariners closer David Aardsma, who did not pitch at all in 2011 due to an injury from 2010, has elected free agency. Whichever team that signs him will probably have to wait until at least June for his services in the Majors, however, as he’s still recovering from the injury.

> The White Sox picked up their option on reliever Jason Frasor, who they acquired from the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline.

> The Indians exercised their option on starter Fausto Carmona, but declined the option on the injury-plagued center fielder Grady Sizemore.

> The Pirates declined options on catcher Ryan Doumit, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher Chris Snyder, and starter Paul Maholm. I thought they should have kept Maholm at least, because he’s good- just doesn’t get run support. But they can do whatever the want to keep themselves from having their first winning season since 1992, for all I care…

> The Rockies declined their option on starter Aaron Cook. That was definitely expected, as he’s been injury-plagued and ineffective over the past two years.

> Lastly, the Rangers exercised their option on Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama.

Well, that took awhile, but thanks for reading. Feel free to leave thoughts on these moves, if you have any.



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