Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

Let’s get it started

The last time it counted – 149 days ago to be exact – Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz swinging to give the Giants their first World Series title since 1954.

Hot Stove season came and went. Spring Training games were played.

Now, it’s time for a new season.

Opening Day 2011 features six matchups (all times ET): Braves-Nationals at 1:05 p.m.; Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m.; Brewers-Reds at 2:10 p.m.; Angels-Royals at 4:10 p.m.; Padres-Cardinals at 4:15 p.m.; and Giants-Dodgers at 8 p.m. in the ESPN Opening Night game.

The Giants begin their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees, and the first in the NL to repeat since the 1975-76 Reds. But the Phillies added Cliff Lee, giving them a philthy rotation that could be the best in MLB history. Over in the AL, the Red Sox added some serious firepower in the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

The 27 other MLB clubs begin today with the same record, the same hopes, the same dreams.  Follow us all day as we chronicle the dawn of a new season, from the first pitch on the East Coast, to the last out in SoCal. Who will rise in October? Buckle up and enjoy The Show.

Brewers begin 43rd season

The Brewers are in chilly Cincinnati to begin their 43rd season as a franchise and 14th in the National League. The franchise is 23-18-1 on Opening Day, 15-13-1 on the road and 7-5-1 overall since joining the NL. The tie was right here in Cincinnati, on April 3, 2000, when Davey Lopes’ managerial debut was called in the top of the sixth inning with the teams tied at 3.
This is only the team’s fourth regular-season game in March. Here are the others:
3/31/98 at Atlanta — Lost, 2-1
3/31/03 at St. Louis — Lost 11-9
3/31/08 at Chicago Cubs — Won, 4-3
John Axford, Zach Braddock, Brandon Kintzler and Erick Almonte are Milwaukee’s first-time members of a Major League Opening Day roster.
– Adam McCalvy

Roundup: Rangers, Jays complete swap

For the second time in a week on Tuesday, the Blue Jays pulled the trigger on a trade involving catcher/infielder Mike Napoli. Napoli, acquired from the Angels along with Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells last Friday, is heading back west but this time to the Rangers.
In exchange for Napoli, the Rangers sent right-handed reliever Frank Francisco to Toronto. Francisco, 31, saved 25 games for the Rangers in 2009 and brings a solid resume to the back end of the Blue Jays’ bullpen.
Napoli, on the other hand, could serve in a variety of roles. He slots in as another possible backup catching option as well as provide insurance in case first baseman Mitch Moreland struggles and can take over some designated hitter at-bats. The 29-year-old Napoli also brings a healthy dose of power to the Rangers, having hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons. 
Tuesday’s swap dominated most of the Hot Stove action, but here’s a look at other news and notes from around the league:
 
- The Astros avoided a salary arbitration hearing with left-hander Wandy Rodriquez, signing the left-haned starter to a three-year, $34 million extension. The deal includes a one-year option that would hike the deal to $44.5 million.
- The Cubs added a familiar arm, agreeing to terms with Todd Wellemeyer on a one-year, non-guaranteed Minor League deal for $800,000, ESPNChicago.com reported. Working mostly as a starter, Wellemeyer went 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA last season for the Giants.
- Oakland avoided arbitration with left-hander Craig Breslow on Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Breslow, the A’s last remaining arbitration-eligible player, earned a significant raise over his 2010 salary of $425,000. Breslow is also eligible for $25,000 in incentives based on the number of games he finishes, Lee reported.
 
 
- The Twins avoided arbitration with Kevin Slowey, agreeing to a one-year, $2.7 million deal, MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier reported. Slowey had filed at $3.1 million and the Twins had filed at $2.3 million, which puts the agreed-upon deal right at the midpoint of the two submissions.
Slowey posted a 4.45 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 155 2/3 innings last year. The 26-year-old has never posted a walk rate above 1.7 per nine or a strikeout rate above 6.7 per nine in four big league seasons.
 
 
- After an offseason of additions, the Brewers are still seeking another veteran bench presence, Fox Sports.com reported Tuesday. Mark Kotsay is one possibility for the role, according to the report. The 35-year-old hit .239 for the White Sox last season but owns a .312 career average as a pinch hitter.
- The Os agreed to a Minor League deal with reliever Clay Rapada on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reported. The deal, which would include an invite to Spring Training, gives the O’s a candidate for the situational lefty role in the pen.  The 29-year-old appeared in just 13 games last season for the Rangers, but was exceptionally tough on left-handed hitters (1-for-21).
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: DH-types coming off the market?

The free-agent market has definitely thinned, now that less than one month remains before the start of Spring Training. But as of Friday, several big names remained in the veteran corner outfielder/designated hitter category.

That may change soon.

The Rays, an industry source told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, are nearing a one-year deal with Johnny Damon and are also in the mix for his former Red Sox teammate, Manny Ramirez

But Tampa Bay may have some competition for Ramirez’s services, since sources told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that the Rangers and Angels are also interested. Sullivan notes that it’s the Rangers and Rays that are the front-runners at this point, with the Angels seemingly lagging behind.  

Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com heard from sources that Vladimir Guerrero, like Ramirez and Damon, could also be close to signing, saying the Orioles and Angels have interest. The Rangers, Sullivan added, also haven’t closed the door on bringing back Guerrero.
The problem is the soon-to-be-36-year-old — coming off a season in which he batted .300
with 29 homers and 115 RBIs as Texas’ full-time DH — may still be
trying to land an everyday job.

Here’s more from around the league…

* The Red Sox were trying to reel in free-agent closer Rafael Soriano
on a lucrative one-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com and
MLB Network. If they would have succeeded in that, they could’ve dealt
current closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Athletics or White Sox. Boston also made Yankees closer Mariano Rivera an offer this offseason, so there’s seemingly concern in Beantown about Papelbon.

* When Prince Fielder hits free agency at the end of the 2011
season, the slugging first baseman expects to yield a contract of at least eight
years and for about $200 million, Heyman added.

* The Reds have been all about locking up their own players this
offseason, and they still may not be done. Regarding unsigned starter
Edinson Volquez, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati
Enquirer, “We’re looking at both — one-year and multi-year” deals.
Volquez, arbitration-eligible for the first time, made $445,000 in 2010. Bronson
Arroyo
, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto have all inked
multi-year deals with the Reds this offseason. 

* The Cardinals signed veteran infielder Nick Punto
to a one-year contract. The 33-year-old switch-hitter will serve as a
utility infielder and an insurance policy at third base for David Freese.

* The Mariners reduced the signing bonus of Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero, from $2.9 million to $1.1 million, according to Baseball America.

– Alden Gonzalez

Roundup: Rays looking to deal?

The Hot Stove took a bit of a backseat on Wednesday, with the announcement that Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this July dominating the baseball headlines.

With Adrian Beltre‘s signing with the Rangers now official, the rumor mill did ramp up on the trade market — namely, on Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza and a possible deal to the Cubs, reported on Tuesday night by the Chicago Sun-Times. That story was news to the Cubs, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, who also reported that the Rays are more likely to wait until the summer to move Garza.

Here’s the rundown of the rest of the news from Wednesday:

- Staying in the NL Central, the Cardinals have resumed extension talks with their own potential Hall of Famer, first baseman Albert Pujols. Pujols could hit the free-agent market following the 2011 season.

- The latest out of Southern California is that the Angels have interest in signing Vladimir Guerrero.

On MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told co-hots Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy that the Angels are not closing the door on the possibility of Guerrero returning to his former home after one season in Texas.

After hitting .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs in 2009, the Angels’ American League Most Valuable Player in 2004, accepted a one-year contract with the Rangers and helped the AL West rivals reach the World Series.

Guerrero, whose career began with nine games in Montreal in 1996, is a .320 career hitter with a .383 on-base percentage and .563 slugging mark.

- The Mariners are working on a potential two-year deal with recently acquired shortstop Brendan Ryan, according to MLB.com’s Greg Johns. Ryan, who came over from St. Louis in a December trade, is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career.

- The Red Sox claimed catcher Max Ramirez off waivers from the Rangers, tweeted MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Ramirez, you may remember, was close to going to Boston last off-season in exchange for Mike Lowell. Ramirez hit .217 in 28 games for the Rangers in 2010.

- The Blue Jays announced that they claimed left-handed reliever Wil Ledezma on waivers from the Pirates. Ledezma was 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA for Pittsburgh in 2010.

- The Diamondbacks resigned lefty reliever Clay Zavada to a Minor League deal, as reported by Baseball America. Zavada pitched in five games for Triple-A Reno in 2010 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Zavada posted a 3.35 ERA in 49 games for Arizona in 2009.

- The Rangers and Beltre made it official on Wednesday, with the club announcing the addition of the third baseman in an afternoon press conference. The signing of Beltre means that the Rangers are no longer interested in their former DH Vladimir Guerrero, according to a tweet from the Dallas Star-Telegram’s Anthony Andro.

- Likewise, the Brewers finalized their deal with Takashi Saito. As reported by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, the right-hander’s base salary will be under $2 million, but he can make more than $3 million in incentives.

- The Rockies have signed utilityman Hernan Iribarren to a Minor League contract. Iribarren, 26, last played in the Majors with Milwaukee in 2009, spending last season with Texas’ Triple-A affiliate.  The deal includes an invitation to Colorado’s Major League Spring Training camp.

-  The Padres signed versatile Kevin Frandsen and catcher Guillermo Quiroz Minor League contracts.  The deal will pay Frandsen $575,000 if he makes San Diego’s Major League roster, according to ESPN.

Frandsen, 28, has played several positions during his MLB career with the Giants and Angels, playing primarily third base last season for the Angels, who did not tender him a contract for 2011.

Quiroz, 29, has played parts of the last seven seasons in the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles. He is a career .208 hitter in 255 at-bats.

–Tim Britton

Roundup: Many teams interested in Fuentes?

Relief pitching remained at the forefront of the free agent arena on Tuesday as discussion of the market for left-hander Brian Fuentes occupied an otherwise slow news day.
There’s still a large contingent of teams that have at least some interest in Fuentes, including the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, Rockies, Mariners, Twins, Pirates, Phillies, Brewers, Yankees and Mets, SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted Tuesday.
Many of those teams could have filled their need in recent days, however, including the Yankees (Pedro Feliciano), Brewers (Takashi Saito) and Rockies (Matt Lindstrom). In addition, the price tag for Fuentes could be prohibitive for some of those teams, if he indeed is seeking a deal comparable to Scott Downs’s three-year, $15 million pact with the Angels as Ken Rosenthal suggested last week.
Here’s a look at other happenings around the league on Tuesday: 
- After adding Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke to their rotation, the Brewers have ended negotiations with Chris Capuano, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Tuesday. Capuano reportedly wanted to stay in the starting rotation, a role the Brewers simply didn’t have open for next season. 
- Free Agent left-hander Jeff Francis acknowledged to the Vancouver Province that teams have shown interest in him, but suggested it hadn’t gone much farther than that. The Mets, Yankees, Nationals and Pirates have all been mentioned as possible fits for Francis so far. 
- Brandon Webb did get at least $3 million guaranteed and “at least that in incentives” in his pact with the Rangers, Heyman confirmed on Twitter.
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Phils, Crew lock up relievers

Relievers continue to be a valuable commodity on the Hot Stove market, as two more free agents found a home on Monday to highlight an otherwise quiet day. 

Left-hander J.C. Romero agreed to a one-year deal with the Phillies, while veteran right-hander Takashi Saito agreed to a one-year pact with the Brewers. 

Saito’s deal, expected to be announced next week, gives the Crew another established arm in the back end of the ‘pen and continues their offseason pitching staff overhaul. 

Saito, who will be 41 on Opening Day, carried a 2.83 ERA while serving as Atlanta’s primary set-up man to closer Billy Wager. The Japanese-born hurler did suffer shoulder injuries as the season wore on, but he proved mostly effective when healthy. 

Elsewhere in the National League, the Phillies elected to bring back Romero after declining his $4.5 million option earlier this offseason. After a potential deal with Romero’s would-be replacement, left-hander Dennys Reyes, fell through, the club looked back to a familiar face. 

After injuries limited Romero to just 21 games in 2009, Romero registered a 3.68 ERA last season while struggling at times with his control. 

Here’s a look at Monday’s other happenings around the league: 

- The Blue Jays continue to “move closer” to an agreement with Octavio Dotel, Fox Sports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Monday. In agreement with earlier reports, Rosenthal concurred that the deal will be in the $3.5 million range.

- Brandon Webb, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers on Sunday, will earn $3 million plus incentives, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweeted Monday. Jerry Crasnick, also of ESPN.com, added that with incentives, Webb could earn between $8-10 million when all is said and done.


– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Garcia, Pavano, Webb still on market

Several big-name arms have already been spoken for in the Hot Stove market, but there are still plenty of starting pitching options left including Carl Pavano, Freddy Garcia and Brandon Webb.
With the Brewers now out on Pavano, the market for the veteran is seemingly down to the Twins and Nationals at this point. 
Garcia, who went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA for the White Sox last season, is coming off a season in which he suffered back pain. The Yankees and Mets have asked for the 35-year-olds medical records, SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted. The White Sox also have reportedly have checked in Garcia. 
Garcia’s situation isn’t altogether different from Webb, who is trying to prove he is healthy and can still be effective on a Major League mound. While several teams have expressed interest in the 30-year-old, including the Cubs, Rangers and Nationals, Chicago doesn’t appear to be a good fit for the right-hander, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. For a deal to be struck, Webb would likely have to take a Kerry Wood-type discount, Muskat suggested.
Here’s a look at Monday’s other happenings around the league: 
- The Nats added some outfield depth on Monday by adding veteran Rick Ankiel with a one-year deal, pending a physical. Ankiel will likely compete with Roger Bernadina for playing time in left field, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.
-Infielder Craig Counsell agreed to a one-year deal with his hometown Brewers on Monday.  The deal, which has not been made official as of yet, essentially was a win for both sides as Counsell remains close to home while the Brewers retain a veteran presence in their clubhouse who also is a strong utility player off the bench. Counsell batted .250 in 2010, but put up a .333 (13-39) mark as a pinch-hitter.  
- Royals GM Dayton Moore has no plans to part with his closer Joakim Soria, even after sending ace Zack Greinke to Milwaukee, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com tweeted on Monday. The club has been getting calls on the closer, but for many reasons isn’t intersted in moving him, according to the report.
-One of the bigger bats still left on the free agent market, first baseman Derrek Lee, is looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $8-$10 million, Rosenthal tweeted Monday. At that price, he notes, the Padres are probably priced out, but it might not be too high for the Nats.
- The Indians added two free agent outfielders to the fold on Monday, in Austin Kearns and Travis Buck. While Buck agreed to a one-year Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite, Kears accepted a one-year big league deal. Buck, whose deal has not been made official as of yet, has appeared as an Opening Day outfielder for the Athletics in each of the last three seasons. For Kearns, the deal brings him back to Cleveland where he began last season before a midseason trade sent him to the Yankees. 
“We think [Kearns is] a great fit for our team,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “We recognized the makeup and composition of our team would be predominently left-handed, especially in the outfield. Austin provides great balance to that with his ability to play all three outfield spots and the fact that he’s a right-handed hitter.
–Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Pavano next chip to fall?

As the Brewers added an ace to their deck with the acquisition of Zack Greinke on an otherwise quiet Sunday, attention turned to the next top-tier pitcher on the market: free agent Carl Pavano.
While the Twins have been seen as the favorite to land Pavano this offseason, the addition of Greinke to the Brewers may have only increased that possibility, as FoxSports.com suggested on Sunday. 
Milwaukee was another team that had reportedly been in contention for Pavano’s services, but with their No. 1 starter taken care of, the Brewers are likely out of the fray.
The Nationals and Rangers, who had been seriously working to land Greinke, haven’t seriously pursued the 34-year-old starter, sources told Fox Sports.com.
Here’s a look at other moves from around the league: 
- Greinke’s disappearance from the trade market could have boosted interest in Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who is arbitration eligible this offseason and next, but the Marlins put the kibosh on that. Nolasco is near to signing a three-year extension worth $27 million, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported Sunday night. The deal, which runs through 2012, is pending a physical.
- Guillermo Mota is returning to the Giants for a second season, ESPN Deportes reported. Mota, who won a World Series ring with San Francisco in 2010, did not receive a Major League deal, but will have an invite to big league Spring Training.
- ESPN Deportes reported that the Braves have signed 25-year-old southpaw Yohan Flande and invited him to Spring Training. Flande went 10-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 27 starts at Double-A for the Phillies last season. 
- The Blue Jays have signed catcher Ryan Budde to a Minor League deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweeted on Sunday. Budde, who has seen limited Major League action with the Angels over the last several years, owns a career average of .212.
- Right-hander Anthony Lerew has signed a one-year deal with the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League according to the NPB tracker. Lerew struggled in six starts with the Royals last season. 
- The Yankees have given right-hander Luis Vizcaino a Minor League deal and an invite to big league camp, The Star-Ledger reported. Vizcaino, 36, has been out of pro ball since 2009, but pitched well this offseason in the Dominican Winter League.
- The Nationals had reached a deal with the Royals for Greinke, before the right-hander exercised his no-trade clause to veto the deal, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. No reason was given for Greinke’s decision, but the ace had previously expressed a desire to play for a title contending team.
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Reds locking up their players

The Reds haven’t brought in much outside help this offseason, but they’ve still been among the busiest teams in baseball. Their mission is keeping guys in-house. The club had already inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension. Then, late Thursday night, the club agreed on a six-year, $51 million contract with Jay Bruce, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Now, they’re apparently turning their attention to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto.

The Reds have been wanting to sign Votto, the reigning National League MVP, to some sort of extension, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick believes it won’t be for the six years that Bruce got. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have also had preliminary discussions with Cueto about a long-term deal.

Here’s more from around the league on Friday …

* All was quiet on the Cliff Lee front as of Friday afternoon. The Rangers on Thursday presented Lee with a wide array of complex offers, and now, they wait. The Yankees had recently upped their proposal to seven years, but good friend CC Sabathia will give Lee his space, too. Is the ballyhooed left-hander agonizing over his decision right now? C.J. Wilson doesn’t think so. He thinks Lee is deer hunting.

* Young, non-tendered catcher Russell Martin could be close to making his decision. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays have been reported to have serious interest, with New York taking “an aggressive approach,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter. He is said to be deciding between those three American League East teams.

* The Orioles made potential closer Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to $10 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Gregg seems to be negotiating with several teams right now. The question is whether the O’s would give him a chance to be their ninth-inning man.

* A few signings made today: The Royals got Melky Cabrera to be their center fielder; the Orioles resigned veteran infielder Cesar Izturis; the Brewers picked up catcher Wil Nieves; and the Braves officially signed lefty reliever George Sherrill.

* According to Olney, Jorge Cantu is one of the first basemen “seriously being considered” by the Diamondbacks. Cantu was a solid run-producer in the middle of the Marlins’ lineup the last two-plus years, but struggled while playing sparingly with the Rangers towards the end of the 2010 season.

– Alden Gonzalez 

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