Results tagged ‘ Vladimir Guerrero ’

Pujols debut signals new Angels era

ANAHEIM – Albert Pujols has said that his first Opening Day at-bat is one of very few times he’ll ever feel nervous on a baseball field – along with his first at-bat of Spring Training and his first at-bat of the playoffs.

But Friday night didn’t feel like just any Opening Day for the premier slugger. It was his first under the weight of a $240 million contract, his first without a Cardinals jersey on, and his first in front of a West-coast fan base eager to see great things.

Afterwards, Pujols maintained, it was no different.

“It was the same nerves I’ve been going through my first 11 years in the big leagues,” he said after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an intentional walk. “It’s just something that my dad told me – if you don’t go through that, whether it’s when you walk in early to the park and get ready, excited for the game, he always told me you ain’t ready. I knew I was ready because I was going through that, and I wanted to do something special. But that’s the way it goes. We got a win. I think that’s the most important thing.”

The Angels drew a sold-out crowd, as expected, on Opening Night against the Royals – an eventual 5-0 win sparked by a Jered Weaver gem and an eighth-inning surge.

Three hours before game time, the parking lot was almost full. When gates opened at 5 p.m. PT, a sea of red flooded in. And when players were introduced, the noise was almost deafening.

In many ways, it was a typical Opening Day for the Angels.

In many ways – because of the expectations and buzz surrounding the Pujols and C.J. Wilson signings – it wasn’t.

“For sure, this is the most exciting it’s been in the area for the Angels,” said Jared Pfeifer, a long-time Angels fan who resides in Yorba Linda, Calif. “I have never seen more people wearing Angels gear in one area my entire life.”

The opening ceremonies included a David Cook National Anthem, ceremonial first pitches thrown out by three members of the 2002 World Series team – Tim Salmon, David Eckstein and Troy Percival – and a C17 flyover.

Before that, an announced crowd of 44,106 provided a loud ovation for Pujols, who doffed his cap from the third-base line in appreciation.

“They were excited,” Pujols said. “They couldn’t wait until this day. Neither could we. We were looking forward to it, and it was great to come up with the win today.”

Angels fans have been jubilant about their club before.

There was that inspiring run to the 2002 World Series. There was the signings of Vladimir Guerrero and Don Baylor. The trades for Rod Carew and Nolan Ryan.

But this, perhaps, is different.

“This is definitely the most excited I’ve ever been going into a season,” added Adam Rank of Huntington Beach, Calif. “There’s just a lot of really high expectations.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Yankees could trade for a DH

In a conference call with reporters discussing the Michael Pineda trade, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he’d be more inclined to trade from his pitching depth to acquire a designated hitter than to sign one on the open free agent market.

When the Yankees officially announce the signing of right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, they’ll have seven starters vying for five spots. CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Pineda, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia are also in that mix. 

“Maybe I use our excess pitching to find a bat,” Cashman said. “That’s a possibility. … We stretched the payroll to get (Kuroda) done, so I’m not sure what we have financially. I think we’ll look at the trade market first and foremost and see where that takes us.”

Among the DH options out there, the Yankees have reportedly heard from Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez, but are not thought to consider any of them an urgent priority. 

- Bryan Hoch

Yanks have heard from Vlad, Ibanez

The Yankees have heard from the representatives for free agents Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez about their opening at designated hitter, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff reports. 

Guerrero and Ibanez could join a crowd of candidates vying for the Yankees’ attention in the wake of last week’s Jesus Montero trade to the Mariners. New York is known to have reached out to the representatives for Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Carlos Pena, but it is believed that the Yankees have only between $1 and $2 million to spend on a DH.

Internally, the Yankees are touting a tandem of Andruw Jones and Minor League slugger Jorge Vazquez to tackle DH duties, while also using the spot to help rest players like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. Davidoff’s report also noted that Jack Cust’s representatives talked to the Yankees, but Cust agreed to a contract with the Astros on Tuesday.

- Bryan Hoch

Report: Napoli, Rivera for Wells

According to FOXSports, the Angels have agreed to deal catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera to the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder Vernon Wells, who waived his no-trade clause in the report by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

Wells has $86 million coming in the remaining four years on his contract and can opt out after drawing $23 million in 2011. He could move into center field or play left with Peter Bourjos in center field and Torii Hunter in right. Wells had 33 homers and 88 RBIs in 2011 and owns three Gold Gloves. He is 32 and has spent his entire career in Toronto, emerging as a regular in 2002.
 
The Blue Jays could combine Napoli with former Angels teammate Jose Molina behind the plate, along with J.P. Arenciba and also give the slugger playing time at first base, where he performed capably last season in Kendry Morales’ absence. Napoli is arbitration-eligible and has asked for $6.1 million while the Angels proposed an offer of $5.3 million. He led the club with 26 home runs last year.

Rivera is owed $5.25 million on the final year of his contract. Combined, Napoli and Rivera would account for roughly half of Wells’ 2011 salary. Adding Wells would lift the Angels’ payroll into the $150 million range, but they are receiving an unspecified amount of cash in the trade.

The swap would leave the Angels with Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger as their catchers. – Lyle Spencer

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

Angels linked to Manny, Vlad

The Angels, searching for offense, appear to be interested in both Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero as free agents, according to a report by Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes. Citing sources, Rojas reports that both players are closing in on deals. One source suggests Ramirez is likely to sign by the beginning of next week.

The Angels, Twins, Rangers, Rays and Blue Jays have shown some interest in Ramirez, but Minnesota is out after signing Jim Thome. The Angels, Rangers and Rays appear to be pursuing him most aggressively. Rojas hears that Ramirez is determined to redeem himself after a disappointing season, and money is not his primary concern.

Guerrero, according to a source, believes the Orioles have the inside track on signing him, but the Angels are another possibility. – Lyle Spencer

 

Roundup: Uggla, Lee signings official

The Reds on Thursday reportedly signed the reigning World Series MVP, while Dan Uggla‘s five-year extension with the Braves and first baseman Derrek Lee‘s one-year deal with the Orioles were officially announced.

 

According to an ESPN report, shortstop Edgar Renteria is joining the Reds after leading the charge for the Giants in the 2010 World Series. The one-year deal is reportedly worth $3 million.

Uggla, 31 next season, was introduced in a 2:30 p.m. ET press conference. He agreed to the $62 million deal with Atlanta after the Braves acquired him from the Marlins in November. With Florida last season, Uggla set career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33) and RBIs (105).

Lee, 35, can make as much as $10 million with incentives as part of the deal, which has a $7.5 million base salary. He hit .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs between the Cubs and Braves last season.

Other news from Thursday:

? The Phillies invited seven non-roster players to Spring Training, the biggest name of the bunch being Delwyn Young. Also invited were infielder Robb Quinlan, catchers Tuffy Gosewisch and Joel Naughton and right-handers Brian Bass, Michael Schwimer and Michael Stutes. Young, 28, hit .236 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 110 games for the Pirates last season.

? Left-hander J.C. Romero re-signed with the Phillies on a one-year, $1.35 million deal. He’s passed his physical.

? In addition to bringing in Renteria, the Reds are also on the verge of re-signing reliever Jared Burton on a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported.

? The Nationals are not pursuing Carl Pavano, according to a report from MASN, while Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Twitter that the Pirates have interest in the free agent right-hander.

? The Orioles, Rays, and yes, the Angels, have shown varying amounts of interest in Vladimir Guerrero, according to ESPNDeportes. But Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register said on Twitter that he thinks Anaheim is an unlikely destination for the free-agent designated hitter.

? FOXSports.com reported via Twitter that Rafael Soriano is unlikely to end up in Texas now that the Rangers have signed Adrian Beltre. An ESPN report quoted Soriano’s agent Scott Boras as saying Soriano is open to non-closing roles, which is what he would have to take behind Mariano Rivera.

? The Indians officially added Austin Kearns to their 40-man roster, designating Jordan Brown to make room. Kearns signed with Cleveland in December.

? Free-agent left-hander Brian Fuentes wants to close in 2011, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

Roundup: Yanks stake their claim on Jeter

On the day the Yankees signed Larry Rothschild to a three-year contract
to be their new pitching coach, New York reportedly reached out to its
shortstop. The Yankees, SI.com reported on Friday afternoon, are about
to offer Derek Jeter a three-year contract worth $45 million.
That may not be enough, though, as several outlets have stated that “The
Captain” seeks a four- or five-year deal.

Here’s more from around the league …

* New Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is a popular man these
days, considering he recently said his club would listen
in on offers
for young star Justin Upton. According to The New York
Post, at least half the league — not including the Yankees — have shown
interest in the outfielder, and five clubs have wanted to move negotiations
forward. The Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins, Rays, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays have
all been linked to Upton recently.

* The Yankees would like another left-hander in their bullpen besides Boone
Logan
, so they are showing interest in free agent J.C. Romero,
according to FOXSports.com. New York has also been linked to Pedro Feliciano

* The Indians might have re-gained a stud outfielder without having to spend an
extra penny. Shin-Soo Choo has probably avoided
required military service
after leading his South Korea club to the gold
medal.

* In need of a shortstop, the Orioles are expected to bid on Japanese infielder
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, according to a Sports Hochi report relayed by NPB
Tracker. The Mariners, Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals have also been linked to
the 26-year-old switch-hitter, who batted .346 with 22 steals last year.

* Veteran designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero is talking to the Rangers and three other American League teams, according to SI.com.   

– Alden Gonzalez  

Roundup: Trade Deadline comes and goes


That’s it. The non-waiver Trade Deadline has now passed, and the dust
has settled. Several big-name players — like Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt,
Dan Haren and Lance Berkman — wound up switching teams, while
several notable trade candidates — such as Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth,
Scott  Downs, Brett Myers and Prince Fielder
stayed put. 

Here’s a look at what did
happen Saturday … 

* The Dodgers acquired the best remaining starting pitcher on the
market, post-Oswalt, by swinging a deal for Lilly of the Cubs in
the afternoon. In the deal, the southpaw — a free agent after this season and
making $12 million in 2010 — infielder Ryan Theriot and $2.5 million go to Los Angeles, while infielder Blake
DeWitt
and Minor League right-handed-pitching prospects Kyle Smit
and Brett Wallach head
to Chicago. 

* The Cardinals officially acquired Indians pitcher Jake
Westbrook 
in a three-team deal with the Indians and Padres. Westbrook
was scratched from his Saturday start as the deal was set into motion. The
Padres acquired Ryan Ludwick from the Cards, while Padres prospect
Cory Kluber was sent to
Cleveland and pitcher Nick Greenwood went to St. Louis.

* The Yankees made some big moves (surprised?). They solidified the designated-hitter role by
getting Berkman from the Astros, bolstered their outfield with the
acquisition of Austin Kearns from the Indians, and on Saturday, added an arm to the bullpen by getting
another Cleveland piece, closer Kerry Wood (acquired for a player to be
named later or cash). 

* A few other relievers were dealt just before the 4 p.m. ET Deadline.
Coveted left-hander Will Ohman went to the Marlins in exchange for Minor
League right-hander Rick VandenHurk; Pirates closer Octavio Dotel
was dealt to the Dodgers for right-hander James
McDonald
and Minor League outfielder Andrew Lambo; Dotel’s
teammate, lefty Javier Lopez, was sent to the Giants for a couple of Minor
Leaguers; and the Giants got Ramon Ramirez from the Red Sox

* Just before the Deadline, the Red Sox got catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the
Rangers in exchange for two prospects — right-hander Ramon Mendez and
first baseman Chris McGuiness — and a player to be named later or cash. 

* The Braves bolstered their bullpen and got some needed help in
the outfield
by swinging a last-minute deal with the Royals, one
that brought right-hander Kyle
Farnsworth
and outfielder Rick Ankiel (along with cash
considerations) to Atlanta in exchange for outfielder Gregor Blanco,
right-hander Jesse Chavez and Minor League lefty Tim Collins

* The Diamondbacks acquired outfielder Ryan Church,
infielder Bobby Crosby and reliever D.J. Carrasco from the
Pirates in exchange for catcher Chris Snyder and Minor League shortstop Pedro
Ciriaco

* Looking to strengthen their bullpen, the
Rays nabbed veteran right-handed reliever Chad Qualls from the D-backs. 

* In what would have been a true Deadline blockbuster, FoxSports.com is reporting on Saturday that
the White Sox had been trying to acquire Manny Ramirez from the Dodgers,
but the Dodgers didn’t bite on the first attempt. 

Alden Gonzalez and Bailey Stephens

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