Before we talk about 500-foot bombs, or 450-foot home runs hit with broken bats, or the time that Charlie Manuel was left speechless and the day Dave Winfield finally saw The Next Dave Winfield, a word to the reader: Don't believe every tale about Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton.
On Sunday, it was reported that the Houston Astros will select Stanford righthander Mark Appel with the first pick in Monday's MLB Draft. How will the rest of the first round break down? Dave Perkin, a former major league scout and SI.com's draft analyst, makes his selections below. For more from Perkin, follow his live analysis of the first-round starting at 7 p.m. Monday night.
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is suspended despite his apologies for Castro remarks. CNN's John Zarrella reports.
Might the NL East be ready to wrest the title of Toughest Division in Baseball away from its AL counterparts? Not quite, but it has become the game's most talented grouping one through five.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez beat out a chopper to the right side of the infield in a game this week, a play that seemed insignificant except for Miami scoring four runs thereafter and for what manager Ozzie Guillen said to Ramirez. "Those runs," he told him, "are because of you."
JUPITER, Fla. -- To no franchise is the wild card so meaningful as it is to the Florida Marlins.
The heir to Stan Musial left St. Louis, the Tigers came out of nowhere to give a Prince a king's ransom and three of the most intriguing players in baseball today never have played a day in the big leagues. In other words, strange as it is, this is the perfect spring training to follow a 2011 season in which none of the nine biggest payrolls won a postseason series and St. Louis, which lost its ace (Adam Wainwright), scrapped its closer (Ryan Franklin) and languished 10 ½ games out in late August, wound up winning the World Series.
DALLAS -- Already the most fascinating team in baseball -- everybody from Albert Pujols to the Securities and Exchange Commission is checking them out -- the Marlins aren't done yet. Having added shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell, the newly named, newly outfitted and newly relocated Miami Marlins are prepared to push their payroll past $100 million if it means adding Pujols, according to a team source.
MIAMI (AP) -- All-Star closer Heath Bell has agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
December shopping season is almost upon us, and judging by some early infield impulse buying, there could be plenty of big spending. Baseball's powers are headed back in a week to the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the winter meetings, the site of the wildest week of spending 11 years ago, highlighted by the $252 million, 10-year deal for Alex Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers.
The newly-named Miami Marlins entered this world with a bang -- actually three of them. You've got to give them credit for one thing at least. They do know how to make an entrance.
The Marlins are about to have the big-name marketable manager they have craved as they head into their new stadium. The White Sox are rid of their headache.
The Cubs' rather stiff 30-day penalty for embattled pitcher Carlos Zambrano will be contested fiercely by his representatives in a grievance process that began Monday with a filing by the Players Association on his behalf. But there is one thing both sides seem likely to agree on: It is time for a new team for Big Z.
Five thoughts on a mid-August weekend of baseball...
NEW YORK -- Hanley Ramirez's summer revival started with a perceived lack of hustle, and it nearly ended because of an all-out and all-too-real dive into the Citi Field turf.
MIAMI (AP) -- New Florida Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon sat listening as team president David Samson offered a spirited defense of the decision to give the job to an octogenarian.
The Marlins' sudden opening, the American League dominance, divisional parity, a troubling injury and more starting pitching accolades from another interleague weekend ...
The Marlins are considering hiring Jack McKeon as an interim manager to replace Edwin Rodriguez.
Wednesday night was a rough one for a trio of managers in one of the largest and best classes of managers in their first full year with new teams. Terry Collins' Mets relief corps blew a 6-2 lead late in a 7-6 defeat to the Brewers, the Braves' Fredi Gonzalez was burned by having closer Craig Kimbrel pitch to Marlins star Mike Stanton with a base open before the Braves rallied to beat Gonzalez's former team and Edwin Rodriguez's Marlins wound up losing their seventh straight game. After that defeat Florida's hitting coach, John Mallee, was fired and replaced by TV analyst Eduardo Perez, the son of Hall of Famer and Marlins special assistant Tony Perez.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Red Sox may have started 0-6 but Boston manager Terry Francona need not worry about his job security. As was reported in this space in spring training, Francona's bosses have every intention of exercising a two-year option for about $8.75 million and a six-game sample won't have one iota of impact on their intentions.
No division in baseball has as overwhelming a favorite as the National League East, where the Phillies are expected to romp to a fifth straight division title. Such expectations should not overshadow the fact that the Phils aren't the only team with legitimate playoff aspirations. Both the Braves, last year's wild-card winner, and the Marlins have the pitching to keep them in contention for a postseason berth. The Mets and Nationals, meanwhile, will be battling to stay out of the basement, which would be cause for joy in Washington and despair in New York.
For baseball fans longing for their favorite sport after a long, cold winter, Monday's voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers, which marks the official start of spring training, is both a day to be celebrated and a big tease. The excitement of seeing one's favorite team together and in uniform is undermined by two weeks of drills and stretching followed by another month of meaningless games in which the starting nine typically play just five innings and pitchers are slowly stretched out, barely reaching 100 pitches by the end of March. Still, while Pitchers and Catchers might be the baseball equivalent of the Groundhog seeing its shadow, foretelling another six weeks of winter for those outside of Florida and Arizona, for discerning baseball fans, there's still plenty to see. Here then, is a quick review of what to look for in spring training this year.
Ten teams hired a manager this winter and some did better than others. Here are my rankings of the new managerial hires, from top to bottom.
When Terry Collins is introduced as the Mets' new manager on Tuesday, it will be celebrated as a fresh start for the floundering franchise, but the reality is that Collins has one of baseball's toughest jobs ahead of him.
Barely a week after Dan Uggla rejected a contract offer rumored to be worth $48 million over four years, the Florida Marlins have traded their arbitration-eligible All-Star second baseman to the division rival Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and lefty reliever Michael Dunn. The deal gives the defending NL wild card Braves a powerful right-handed bat for the heart of their lineup but is a bit of an odd fit for Atlanta on the other side of the ball and another embarrassment for the Marlins franchise.
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Braves didn't even wait 48 hours to introduce Bobby Cox's replacement.
Previously unknown interim manager Mike Quade has emerged as the surprise heavy favorite to win the coveted Cubs managerial job, league sources say.
Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals has been given an eight-game suspension for three incidents this week: charging the mound and inciting a bench-clearing brawl with the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night, taunting Marlins fans on Tuesday, and unnecessarily running into St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson last Saturday.
Last Friday, I took a look at the best pitchers available in a trading market that has thinned now that the biggest prize -- Cliff Lee, who was dealt from Seattle to Texas on July 9 -- is off the board. Today, I'm listing the position players who are either available or could be available before the July 31 trade deadline. While the market has plenty of quantity it is lacking in quality. Says one NL GM, "There are a lot of players available but they're mostly complementary pieces."
It's highly competitive. Three teams, maybe four, have a realistic shot at the postseason.
Eric Wedge had a great interview in Baltimore and appears to have a real shot at getting that job. Wedge managed the Cleveland Indians for seven years, winning the 2007 AL Central title, but was fired after last season. The Orioles are still searching for a successor to Dave Trembley, whom they fired earlier this month. Juan Samuel is currently Baltimore's interim manager.
Former Mets and Rangers skipper Bobby Valentine is no longer being considered for the Marlins' managerial vacancy, according to a Major League Baseball source.
Managers aren't quite like Jenga blocks in which one's fall necessarily precipitates the demise of more, but the Royals' firing of Trey Hillman on Thursday marks the beginning of 2010's open season on skippers.
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Marlins acquired left-hander Nate Robertson from the Detroit Tigers for left-hander Jay Voss on Tuesday.
This spring, SI.com writers are filing postcards from all 30 major league spring training camps. To read all the postcards, click here.
MIAMI (AP) -- Florida Marlins president David Samson says the team won't trade second baseman Dan Uggla this winter.
The Yankees left little doubt that they were the team of the last decade, but what team was the most efficient from 2000 through 2009? Did the Yankees get the most bang for their 1.6 billion bucks or did someone else win more efficiently? And which team wasted enough money to claim the title of the least efficient team of the decade? The answers might surprise you -- and that means you at the players association, too -- especially because the most and least efficient teams are not determined solely by market size.
Baseball's employment rate took a hit this week with the unsurprising firing of embattled Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, the unexpected firing of Padres longtime GM Kevin Towers and the shocking development that Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez's job may not be completely safe.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Players rarely captivate their audience in the first few innings of a game, but Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson's dominance made August 14 feel historic almost immediately. Watching the 25-year-old Johnson strike out seven of the first nine Rockies he faced, all missing wildly, Marlins fans could not resist the thought of a no-hitter.
Funny thing, just six years after Michael Lewis' seminal Moneyball came out there isn't really a small-market team that looks to be playoff bound. Yes, the Minnesota Twins are hanging in there, of course, because the division is so flawed and because the Minnesota Twins always hang in there.* The Florida Marlins have the lowest payroll in baseball and are only five games out. The Tampa Bay Rays are still in the chase.
In a week that saw New York officially open two new stadiums with a bang, Diamond Digits looks at some flying Florida Fish, April's best hurlers and a pair of White Sox who, mere moments apart, accomplished something no teammates had ever done before.
They have the best record in baseball. The 11-1 start is not only the best in franchise history but also the best to start a season by any team in six years. With a current winning streak of seven games, their divisional lead (five games) is double the next-largest in the game. Step aside, Phillies and Mets. Make room Yankees, Rays and Red Sox. Two weeks into the season, the Florida Marlins are the true beasts of the East.
When the oh-so-smart Marlins traded arbitration-eligible players Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the competing Nationals in November, it looked like a typical small-revenue club salary dump. But with the Marlins, typical dealings are almost always more than they seem.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Top Braves pitching prospect Tommy Hanson blew away scouts in the Arizona Fall League and again early this spring. But he couldn't deal with Fernando Tatis (two-run home run), didn't completely control his fastball and didn't necessarily impress all the scouts who saw him on Wednesday vs. the Mets. One scout rated him as "just OK'' after seeing the effort. Yet he still has a 2.45 ERA this spring, with 14 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings, and a great majority of baseball insiders see him as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
The grass is still green, the baseball diamond pristine. But the crack of the bat is gone, and the sizzle of a Dodger Dog is no more.
1) The Fish are turning the formula for winning without money on its head. Conventional wisdom holds that if you don't have a large payroll, you've got to grind, scrap, do the little things, hustle, play smart and whatever other euphemism you can come up with for doing things other than hitting bombs. More specifically: pitching, defense and smart at-bats. Funny, then, that the Marlins didn't do any of those things well last year. They were 11th in the NL in ERA, 15th in errors and 10th in walks. And they still won 84 games with a $22 million payroll. Florida did it by pounding the ball -- the Fish were second in the league in homers and third in slugging -- and they should do that again this year (see No. 3 below).
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At one point this winter, the Red Sox made a play to re-acquire Marlins superstar Hanley Ramirez, league sources tell SI.com. But while the Marlins listened to Boston's overtures, talks were quickly scuttled and it appears there's very little chance they will be revived as Florida isn't anxious to trade its best player.
ATLANTA--On Wednesday evening, the big TV in the visitors' clubhouse at Turner Field, in all its high-definition glory, was tuned to the Mets-Phillies game. When New York's Carlos Delgado hammered an eighth-inning home run off Philadelphia's Rudy Seanez to tie the score, the Marlins who were gathered around the flat screen erupted in unrestrained glee, screaming and laughing and calling the reeling Phillies a few shockingly awful, ridiculously funny names.
The Marlins and Pirates are both said to be haggling with the Red Sox over a prospect or two in a potential three-team blockbuster that would send embattled superstar Manny Ramirez to Florida in what could rank as the surprise blockbuster of the century. But while there's still some back and forth going on, people involved in the talks are still expressing optimism that the deal will eventually get done and that the $20 million player will go to the $22 million team.
This could be a season-defining week in the still-undecided National League East. Right now, the Phillies are staggering. The Mets are playing their best ball of the year. The Marlins are sticking around. The Braves, the one-time king of the division, are ... I don't know. What the heck are the Braves doing?
1. Lance Berkman, Houston 2. Chipper Jones, Atlanta 3. Chase Utley, Philadelphia 4. Hanley Ramirez, Florida 5. Albert Pujols, St. Louis 6. Dan Uggla, Florida 7. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 8. Pat Burrell, Philadelphia 9. David Wright, New York 10. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
The first-place Florida Marlins are simultaneously confounding the scouts and contradicting their stats. Their batters are first in the league in strikeouts, with 359. Their fielders are second in errors, with 40.
Also in this column • A's closer Street could be available • White Sox ready to dump Uribe • Rookie enters Dodgers 3B picture
This spring, SI.com senior writer John Donovan is touring the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues to cover baseball's biggest newsmakers. Today he reports from Rays camp in St. Petersburg, Fla. Next stop: Arizona.
This spring, SI.com senior writer John Donovan is touring the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues to cover baseball's biggest newsmakers. Today he reports from Indians camp in Jupiter, Fla. Next stop: St. Petersburg, Fla.
The NL East features the best team in a much-improved league.
The winter meetings came and went with Johan Santana still a Minnesota Twin, but eventually, he will be traded. It might not be this week or even this month, though they would probably prefer to trade him before the season starts. But he will go somewhere, and it should be for something special, not just a package of decent prospects, which is what the Twins have been offered thus far by the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets, the three leading suitors for the two-time Cy Young winner.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When the Tigers traded six players to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, the lobby was filled with questions about just who exactly the six where. Everyone knew that Detroit had sent along Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, but as the team has few actual prospects (other than 2007 draftees), the rest just seems like piling on to most of last night's pile-on, making the deal in most people's mind more of two-for-two deal in many ways.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tigers owner Mike Ilitch showed again why he's one of the best owners in baseball when he gave GM Dave Dombrowski the go-ahead to make the deal of the winter -- the one that landed them Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis -- and push their payroll well past $100 million. And Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria showed again why he's one of the worst.
The Marlins and Tigers have agreed in principle to a deal that would send Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for young left-hander Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin, backup catcher Mike Rabelo and pitchers Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern and Eulogio De La Cruz, SI.com has confirmed.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Angels' big offer for young hitting star Miguel Cabrera included top young hitter Howie Kendrick, young catcher Jeff Mathis, one of two coveted young pitchers -- Nick Adenhart or Ervin Santana -- plus an additional pitcher prospect described as a "mid-level'' talent, SI.com has learned.
The Florida Marlins are trying to hit a grand slam in trade talks involving All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera, executives involved in the discussions say.
Also in this column: • 12 more trade possibilities • Rivera, Posada in the driver's seat • Rangers take a pass on Bonds • More news and notes
Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera is officially on the trading block.
Regarding your NL MVP candidates, how about those two guys in Florida? Yes, the Marlins are not in playoff contention, but it's hard to ignore Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera, especially considering they're first and second, respectively, in the NL in VORP, and rank in the top three in Runs Created. It looks like you went through all the playoff-contending teams, and chose a "good" player from each. Let me ask you: If Cabrera were on a playoff-contender this season, would there be any doubt who the MVP was? -- Carolyn, Boca Raton, Fla.
Every year, contenders look for help for the stretch run or the postseason. Good hitters are usually available either for prospects or in order to dump salary. Bobby Abreu was a good example last season. Good pitching is a much rarer commodity, however. Few teams want to give up pitchers that are difference makers. That's what allowed Roger Clemens to ask for the moon and get it from the Yankees. The Yanks now have their midseason acquisition. Too bad they may be all but out of it when Clemens makes his first start in June.
I. The Nats: You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension -- a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into ... the Twilight Zone.
Also in this column: • New Braves owners won't spend • Ozzie awaits A-Rod in Chicago • An omission from my over-40 list • More news and notes
The NBA's decision to suspend Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal was wrong. I can appreciate that the NBA has gone to such great measures to secure the safety of its players and fans, but punishing two players who came off the bench to check on the welfare of their teammate doesn't make sense. Yes, rules are rules, no matter how ineffective and rigid they are, but some rules need to be changed -- or at least allow for some discretion.
Does it occur to you, too, that baseball has an '80s fixation? That the coverage of the sport seems skewed toward guys who were playing when cool guys wore Members Only jackets and grooved to A Flock of Seagulls on their Walkman?
Things thought about (and looked up) regarding April, while wondering whether the big name in May is going to be Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez, Barry Lamar Bonds or Kirk J. Radomski:
It's 5 p.m. on April 24, and the Florida Marlins are doing what they normally do when it's 5 p.m. and they are in Miami: They're taking batting practice. The Marlins, somewhat unexpectedly, boast one of baseball's most explosive offenses -- at week's end they led the majors in extra-base hits (97) and slugging percentage (.475) -- and this afternoon that potency is on full display. Miguel Cabrera, the hulking 24-year-old third baseman who's averaged 31 home runs the past three seasons, launches ball after soaring ball, many of which land in the outfield seats at Dolphin Stadium. Dan Uggla, the second-year second baseman with the circus strongman forearms, does the same. There is something metronomically workaday about the process: Step in, take a few hacks, let the next guy have a go, repeat. Then Hanley Ramirez enters the cage.
NEW YORK -- If George Steinbrenner decides to blame Joe Torre for the Yankees' awful start and fire him, Steinbrenner's first choice to replace Torre would be Don Mattingly, SI.com has learned.
1. The Next Jose Reyes: Since the beginning of last season, no player has captured the imagination of baseball fans quite like Jose Reyes. Possessing rare five-tool talent at shortstop, Reyes is the epitome of excitement in our nation's pastime. So naturally, when the media discovers a unique individual with once-in-a-lifetime ability, there's only one thing for us to do: immediately identify the next version of said superstar.
Back in the late '70s, the Orioles had a right-handed reliever named Don Stanhouse, a big ol' floppy-haired lug of a guy that Baltimore manager Earl Weaver supposedly liked to call "Full Pack." That, it was said, was the number of cigarettes that Weaver inhaled during one of Stanhouse's typically nerve-searing and painfully drawn-out appearances.
Jackson Holliday, a mop-topped three-year-old who often wanders through the Colorado Rockies' clubhouse with a miniature bat in hand, is an accomplished mimic who can replicate the batters-box quirks of major leaguers on demand. Say "Nomar," and he kicks his feet together and fidgets with his imaginary batting gloves in perfect imitation of Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra. Say "Big Papi," and he spits on his gloves and claps his hands in the manner of Boston's David Ortiz. Say "Matt Holliday," and he draws a cross in the carpet with his bat and swings with a high front-leg kick, just like his dad, the Rockies' leftfielder. Say "Garrett Atkins," Colorado's third baseman, and Jackson lowers his grip and taps his right shoulder with the bat and squints into the distance.
The biggest impact no-names this week have emerged from the ranks of relievers, as fantasy owners scramble to find out if pitchers such as Lee Gardner, Joakim Soria and Casey Janssen are the real deal or just one-save wonders. Here's this week's crop of players to watch.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and GM Dan O'Dowd were given two-year contract extensions on Opening Day. Hurdle has a record of 356-440 (after Tuesday's loss to the Dodgers) as manager, which is not entirely his fault, and O'Dowd just gave away our best pitcher, Jason Jennings, in the offseason. Do you think these two deserved contract extensions without proving they can put a winning team on the field? -- David Gingrich, Fort Collins, Colo.
Also in this column: • Poor scheduling by MLB • Sheffield's new book • More news and notes
During the first four days of the season, 21 players made their major league debuts, including well-known names like Alex Gordon, Akinori Iwamura and Josh Hamilton. However, also included in the count are some less well known but equally interesting players who surprised many onlookers simply by making their respective teams. Here are this week's five new names to know:
It's dangerous trying to read a 162-game season after a couple of opening-week toe-stubs. It's worse than dangerous. It's stupid, reckless, downright irresponsible.
Also in this column: • Selig's golden parachute • Moreno a big fan of A-Rod • More news and notes
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite highly descriptive news reports, slow motion video and purported eyewitness accounts from major league hitters -- well, the Florida Marlins' scrubs -- Red Sox pitching sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka does not throw a gyroball, G. Gordon Grinch of the North Pole news bureau of SI has learned. Several sources close to Matsuzaka -- and you can't get much closer to Matsuzaka than Matsuzaka himself -- confirmed to Mr. Grinch that Matsuzaka's gyroball is nothing more than media mythology, a promulgation the pitcher delightfully enjoys.
Also in this column: • A destination for Andruw Jones • Sigh of relief in Philly • More news and notes
Also in this column: • Pavano's $2 million fight • Gyroball: Fantasy or reality • In praise of Meche
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Kei Igawa had an adventurous debut.
No one expected the 2006 Marlins, a team with two stars, a bunch of prospects and a few journeymen, to challenge for a playoff spot into September, let alone be one of the better fantasy producing teams, but they did just that. New manager Fredi Gonzalez has less to sort out than Joe Girardi did last year, and there's the foundation for another potential World Series winner here.
Also in this column: • Lowell on the Helton talks • Schilling's "fat chance" • Hall of Shame • More news and notes
Also in this column: • Cardinals-Phillies trade match • Floyd second-guesses Mets • More news and notes
Also in this column: • Bonds' main sticking point • Beane's latest heist • Big Fish left unsigned • More news and notes
This is part two of a five-part series on the top 75 prospects in professional baseball.