Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

Big week for Angels & their search for a starter

The Angels want to add a starter. It’s more likely that they don’t have the chips to acquire a premium one, but they’re doing their due diligence anyway.

This week could be a big one with regards to that pursuit.

This is the week when the erratic Ervin Santana will make two tough starts (against the Tigers on Monday and against the Rangers on Saturday), this is the week more will be known about the health of Dan Haren (he’ll make a rehab outing today, and if all goes well, he could start against Texas on Sunday), and this may be the week that dictates how aggressive Jerry Dipoto is in his pursuit of another rotation arm.

We’re now 15 days away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And the more time passes, the less likely it seems that the Angels can acquire a guy like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.

First, there’s the fact each of their teams would like to resign them. The Phillies, Paul Hagen writes, are entering a critical stage with Hamels. The Brewers, according to Adam McCalvy, pushed back the struggling Greinke to give him a blow (making him less appealing on the trade market and more likely to be retained, perhaps?).

Second, there’s the whole “assets” thing. The Angels don’t have a lot of that to give up. As one executive said, if they’re going up against the Rangers for a starter (T.R. Sullivan says Roy Oswalt’s effectiveness could determine how aggressive they get) it would be “like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.” The only heavy artillery the Angels carry is Peter Bourjos, the high-upside center fielder who’s without an everyday role but is a big part of their long-term plans. Dipoto has continued to stress that the Angels will not trade Bourjos, but things can certainly change. The only way I see them giving him up is if it’s for a starting pitcher they can resign — not one who’s going to walk away in two months and leave them with nothing.

And that brings me to the third reason — the new CBA. The extra Wild Card has put more teams in the race for the playoffs, making less of them sellers in July. But a bigger reason for a possibly slow market could be that the only players who bring back Draft pick compensation upon signing with another club are those who spent the previous full season with the same team. For example, if a team trades for Hamels and he signs elsewhere, that team gets no additional Draft picks in 2013. If he stays with the Phillies and he signs elsewhere, the Phils do get the compensation. One scout said the trade market so far is “extra quiet” and “not much is happening” yet. No surprise there.

Of course, there are other, more-attainable starters out there (Wandy Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster come to mind). Will the Angels go outside of themselves to add another front-line guy?

It may depend on how this week goes.

– Alden Gonzalez

Mets considering a K-Rod reunion?

One of the relievers on the Mets’ Trade Deadline wish list, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Post, is former closer Francisco Rodriguez.

From a purely baseball perspective, that makes plenty of sense. Because of Rodriguez’s 4.00 ERA and $8-million salary as Milwaukee’s setup man, the Brewers cannot rightfully ask for a significant haul of prospects in return. But Rodriguez does have a long track record of excellence in late-game situations and holds a 2.66 ERA in 25 outings since May 4, striking out nearly a batter per inning and walking one-third as many.

Rodriguez, for what it’s worth, also has experience pitching in New York. He was mellower last season after taking anger management classes following his 2010 arrest at Citi Field for assault, so that New York experience could make him more valuable than other late-inning options.

Other relievers available include Brett Myers of the Astros, Huston Street of the Padres and Grant Balfour of the A’s.

–Anthony DiComo

Angels close to signing LaTroy Hawkins

The Angels are closing in on a deal for veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, a source familiar with the negotiations told MLB.com on Wednesday night. The contract, which is still not finalized, is expected to be for one year, perhaps in the neighborhood of $3 million, and should be announced either Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Hawkins would provide the Angels with the veteran right-hander for the back end of the bullpen which they sought. General manager Jerry Dipoto has said he wanted someone with experience closing games, but not somebody who would necessarily replace young closer Jordan Walden.

Hawkins, 38, spent his last two seasons with Milwaukee. He was limited to just 18 appearances in 2010 because of shoulder surgery, then bounced back in 2011, posting a 2.42 ERA and a 1.241 WHIP in 52 games (48 1/3 innings).

For his 17-year career, Hawkins has a 4.48 ERA and 87 saves.

As of 10 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the Angels were still competing against the Marlins in hopes of signing C.J. Wilson, who arrived at the Dallas Anatole where the Winter Meetings are being held, but did not speak with the media.

– Alden Gonzalez, Adam McCalvy 

Angels’ chances to land Wilson improve

With the Marlins committing four years and $58 million to Mark Buehrle — the other top free-agent starter — the Angels’ chances of obtaining C.J. Wilson have only improved.

Word is the Marlins still aren’t done — they could still pursue Wilson, and they may still even have a chance to reel in Albert Pujols. But with Buehrle on board, the sense of urgency to land Wilson is nowhere near as strong as before, and the available funds may not be as high.

In the end, it could come down to a two-horse race between the two American League West rivals, the Angels and Rangers. The Angels have prioritized starting pitching and are going hard after Wilson, amping up their efforts to obtain the Newport Beach, Calif., southpaw and hoping to get an agreement by Wednesday. They may be more willing to go five years with C.J., and that may be what it takes to land him.

Also on Wednesday, Aramis Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said the Angels and Brewers met with his client at the end of the season and are finalists to land the free-agent third baseman — along with another unidentified team.

If the Angels can’t land Wilson, Ramirez could be a fallback option.

– Alden Gonzalez 

12/7 Aramis Ramirez declines arbitration

The agent for Aramis Ramirez told the Cubs Wednesday that the third baseman was declining the Cubs’ offer of arbitration. The deadline for players to decide whether to accept was 11 p.m. CT Wednesday. Both Ramirez and Carlos Pena were Type B free agents, and if they sign with other teams, as expected, the Cubs will receive a compensatory Draft pick between the first and second rounds. Pena already has told the Cubs he will decline the offer.

Ramirez may not go too far from Chicago. He is considering the Brewers as well as the Angels. There also is a third team, but Milwaukee’s advantage is that he could stay in the NL Central. Ramirez, who has met with both Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Angels manager Mike Scioscia, has made it clear he wants to play for a contender. Ramirez, 33, won his first Silver Slugger award this season, batting .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs, and is considered the top free agent third baseman available.

– Carrie Muskat

Grady Sizemore: Sizing up the Market

Free-agent outfielder Grady Sizemore expects to be completely healthy by the start of Spring Training and is keeping his options open for 2012.

On Monday, the Indians announced they were declining Sizemore’s $9 million option for 2012, instead choosing to pay the $500,000 buyout. On Thursday, Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, said the interest in his client’s services is best described as “steady” and he has heard from a number of clubs.

Urbon declined to name the clubs that have inquired or the parameters of a deal Sizemore is seeking. He added that there is not a timetable for a decision.

Sizemore has been mentioned in reports as a possible target for Washington, San Francisco and Milwaukee, among other teams.

“The minute they chose not to exercise the option we informed Grady that we will find the best opportunity to allow him to show his health and that he is the elite player that everyone was used to seeing from 2005 to 2008,” said Urbon, co-head of CAA Baseball. “It’s rare for a two-time Gold Glove winner to have the power and ability to produce like a corner outfielder. It’s rare and rarely exists.”

One option for Sizemore could be shifting from center field to left or right if it’s the right fit. He could also seek a one-year incentive-based deal that would make him a free agent at the end of the 2012 season. Sizemore might believe his value will increase for the ’13 season with improved health and full season under his belt.

One thing is certain: Sizemore will be ready and looking to rebound. He hit .224 with 10 homers, 21 doubles and 32 RBIs in 71 games for Cleveland this past season and has not played a full season since 2008.

He has had two knee surgeries — one on each knee — in the last year and a half, including microfracture surgery on his left knee last year. He also suffered a sports hernia and a right knee injury. He is recovering from an Oct. 3 arthroscopic procedure on his right knee, which had a bone bruise and was part of the reason he was off the field for most of the second half of the season.

“The microfracture is not an issue,” Urbon said. “He’s as structurally as sound as you can be, and nothing he has suffered is chronic. He missed parts of three years. I’m not going to dismiss health, nor should it be, but it will all be cleared up by due diligence.”

As of Monday, the Indians had not ruled out Sizemore’s return to Cleveland.

“We will still stay in touch with his representatives and Grady throughout the offseason and remain hopeful he will remain part of this organization,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti said. “I think both parties remain open-minded to continuing the relationship. It’s just not at the option value.”

- Jesse Sanchez

 

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

While Ramon Hernandez celebrates, Prince Fielder walks off the field. (AP)

It’s a walk-off!

Ramon Hernandez sent Cincinnati fans home happy with two-out, three-run homer off Brewers closer John Axford in the bottom of the ninth inning. Watch Hernandez’s walk-off shot.

Healthy Uecker ready for Opening Day

Bob Uecker was set for his 40th consecutive Brewers Opening Day broadcast on Thursday and revealed that, if not for one fortuitous doctor’s visit, his streak would have ended at 39.

Uecker underwent major heart surgery last April to repair a leaking aortic valve, and his return was slowed by a staph infection. By October, Uecker was feeling well enough to accept an invitation to speak at a dinner in Florida, but before traveling, he went in for one last check-up. That’s when his doctor discovered that the infection had opened another leak in Uecker’s aorta. He immediately scheduled a second surgery.

“Had I not gone for that check-up, I would have died,” Uecker said. “No doubt. Oh, no doubt. They found that hole where the staph infection had settled in and ate a hole in the new valve they put in. It was pumping blood out of my heart chamber.”

The second surgery was difficult, but deemed a success, and Uecker returned to a normal broadcast schedule in Spring Training. He’s scheduled to call all 162 games in 2011 with broadcast partner Cory Provus.

“I don’t know if I’m back to normal,” Uecker said. “My chest is a little sore yet, where they break you open. once was OK, twice is a little harder. Other than that, I feel good. … I feel stronger. I’m back swimming again [one mile per day]. I love doing that. I felt strong this spring, working-wise.”

After dropping 24 pounds last season, Uecker is back to an Opening Day weight of 190.

“That was my ‘sitting weight’ when I played,” he deadpanned.

That sense of humor never suffered during Uecker’s trying 2010. He’ll put it to work on the Brewers Radio Network this season, just like he’s done every season since stepping into the booth midway through the 1971 season. He’s done every Opening Day game since, and calculated that Thursday marked his 56th Major League opening day if you count his days as a player.

“Fifty-six years,” he said wistfully, “and I’m still not in the lineup.”

– Adam McCalvy

Uecker healthy, ready for Brewers’ opener

Bob Uecker called his 40th consecutive Brewers Opening Day game on Thursday and revealed that, if not for one fortuitous doctor’s visit, his streak would have ended at 39.
Uecker underwent major heart surgery last April to repair a leaking aortic valve, and his return was slowed by a staph infection. By October, Uecker was feeling well enough to accept an invitation to speak at a dinner in Florida, but before traveling, he went in for one last check-up. That’s when his doctor discovered that the infection had opened another leak in Uecker’s aorta. He immediately scheduled a second surgery.
“Had I not gone for that check-up, I would have died,” Uecker said. “No doubt. Oh, no doubt. They found that hole where the staph infection had settled in and ate a hole in the new valve they put in. It was pumping blood out of my heart chamber.”
The second surgery was difficult, but deemed a success, and Uecker returned to a normal broadcast schedule in Spring Training. He’s scheduled to call all 162 games in 2011 with broadcast partner Cory Provus.
“I don’t know if I’m back to normal,” Uecker said. “My chest is a little sore yet, where they break you open. once was OK, twice is a little harder. Other than that, I feel good. … I feel stronger. I’m back swimming again [one mile per day]. I love doing that. I felt strong this spring, working-wise.”
After dropping 24 pounds last season, Uecker is back to an Opening Day weight of 190.
“That was my ‘sitting weight’ when I played,” he deadpanned.
That sense of humor never suffered during Uecker’s trying 2010. He’ll put it to work on the Brewers Radio Network this season, just like he’s done every season since stepping into the booth midway through the 1971 season. He’s done every Opening Day game since, and calculated that Thursday marked his 56th Major League opening day if you count his days as a player.
“Fifty-six years,” he said wistfully, “and I’m still not in the lineup.”
– Adam McCalvy
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